Being poor sucks. I've been poor. A couple of times, I have been so flat broke, I didn't know what I was going to do next. You get through it, but I lived on a diet of ramen and hot dogs, of store-brand canned soup, where the occasional can of corned beef hash is a treat and restaurant food, even drive-through junk, is reserved for holidays. I leaned to mend jeans and to keep work clothes just for work; at home, old jeans and a T-shirt, or a nightgown and robe, was good enough. There wer ebetter times, too; but they never lasted and there was no counting on them.
When I first went to work at my present job over thirty years ago, the improvement in food I could afford was an unbelievable bounty; they handed out $30 grocery-store gift certificates at Thanksgiving and every Christmas, the company parked a freezer truck at the back door and handed out boxes of hard-frozen meat: two or three steaks, a nice ham, over five pounds of high-grade goodness. It was remarkable; I started cooking again and slowly got to where I didn't feel as if going out to a dinner where someone else wasn't picking up the check was a frivolous waste of money
Dealing with what coronavirus worries are doing to grocery-store shelves feels like being poor again. I tend to focus on what's available, what I can make work for multiple meals, what I can safely store for later. Just like decades ago, I worry about next week and next month.
Of course, I'm not alone. Most people are feeling this, and a lot of them didn't start with the stock of food and supplies Tam and I have on hand.
It's normal to fret a bit in times like these. That doesn't make it better but maybe it makes it a little easier to bear.
6 months ago