That’s true, too. There are many ways being poor and homeless is preferable to having a job and a home. Let me count the ways:
- Job worries. I probably lost the hair on my head because I worried if I’d get fired and not be able to pay the rent. We know that you don’t have to do anything bad at work to be fired. People are let go every day because of downsizing, outsourcing, getting older, etc., all conditions outside of anyone’s control. And of course, there are those of use who are prone to saying the wrong things at the most inopportune moment in front of the wrong supervisor and get let go because of that. These days, belief in certain religions or ideologies can get you the axe, too.
- Transportation worries. Just getting to work in the morning can be an unending nightmare for a lot of people. It’s bad enough that you have to deal with Jetsons-like traffic; you often have to contend with road rage and those who simply don’t respect the rules of the road. I swear. Every time I get in my car here in Seattle I feel like it’ll be my last time behind the wheel. Aurora Avenue has a 40mph speed limit but people zoom up and down it at 60mph routinely. Some streets with schools have speed bumps or warning lights that say “20mph when light is on.” Not everyone respects that. I’ve seen people driving past stopped school buses with their stop signs sticking out in the road. The common mantra in Seattle is, “Outta my way! I’m coming through!” When I lived in Manhattan I kept my nursing job in Far Rockaway which took me 2 hours to get to during the week and 2 1/2 hours on Sundays. Ridiculous. A complete waste of 4/5 hours every day just for money to pay the rent. I should’ve just lived in a car. Ever slept in one during a rainstorm? The pitter patter of those drops on the roof lulls you into a coma. It does me, anyway.
- Home worries. You’re sleeping soundly in your warm, fluffy bed and suddenly the neighbor’s tree falls through your roof, or grandma comes driving through the living room because her gas pedal got stuck, or a fuselage from a passing jet falls through the kitchen, or a burglar/rapist is breaking in through the basement window, or some kid slips on the ice on your driveway and breaks his leg, or bullets come flying in through your bedroom window because the neighbourhood thugs mistook you for someone else, or your landlord sends you a mail one day that says, “In two months your rent will be raised by $200”, or that dreaded “Your house has been bought by the bank” letter finally arrives, or the toilet backs up again during the latest rainstorm and now you have half of your neighbors’ poop floating around in the muck in your bathroom, or that black mold you’d meant to get rid of in the bedroom made your asthmatic cousin as sick as a dog, or those dagnabbit locusts are back to eating your house, or the roof flips right off during a hurricane (this happened to us in Trinidad), or that front porch camera fails to show you the face of the jerk who stole your mail or peed in your gardenias.
- Freedom worries. When you’re chained to a job, chained to the kids, chained to a mortgage or rent, chained to a wife, chained to your car notes how much freedom do you really have? You’ve gotta pay $4 for that gallon of milk or the baby will starve. You’ve gotta pay $4 for that gallon of gas or you and your family will starve. You’d love to take the kids to the movies more often, or to Disneyland, or Universal Studios Hollywood, or the zoo but sometimes you have to make a choice between entertainment and food. Tough choice. Personally, I choose both, and yes, both costs me nothing. I eat at food banks and read books in libraries. This laptop, my main source of entertainment, I got at a discount. I just had to prove I’m poor. Easy enough. I get food stamps and Medicaid because I’m crazy. Actually, it’s ABD – Aged, Blind & Disabled. That’s kinda long so I prefer crazy.
- Medical worries. Really contentious debate here in the good ol’ US of A. You have a little bit of money saved. Should you spend it on that new Xbox you’ve been eyeing or that tooth extraction you’ve been avoiding for years? New pants or new glasses? Antibiotics or tumor removal? Beer or cough drops? You’d sure love to have that way overdue physical exam done but you should probably spend the little change you have on a pain reliever or headache medicine rather than a bus trip across town. And what about that body rash you just inherited from the latest clothes detergent you just tested? The cable bill is due, the light bill is due, the phone bill is due but the rash is driving you crazy so maybe an emollient is in order. No? You decide.