Thursday, April 02, 2020

And It Keeps On

     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 learned 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 were better 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.


Jeff the Baptist said...

I know the feeling. Growing up in the 80s, I remember eating a lot more frozen and canned food than my son is accustomed to. Now that supply is an issue and we're having to shop for shelf life is also important, we're shopping more like I did as a kid.

But the good news is that we're doing a lot more home cooking as well because we have time now that we're stuck in the house.

Carteach said...

I like being able to afford luxury, but waste offends me. Not the kind of offended where someone gets in someones face to blather about their offendedness. The kind of self-offend where I frown at myself because I know I can do better.

Comes in handy at times like, it does.

Yeah, I've been coffee pot poor myself. I don't recommend it.

Antibubba said...

I have a pretty decent grocery store around the corner from me, not 3 minutes walk. I had not realized how much I stopped in there after work, almost every day (work is a 5 minute walk). I'm relearning how to shop for a longer stretch.

Anonymous said...

I cannot say I have ever had it all that tough, and relative to what some are dealing with, I cannot complain about my circumstances now.

What I wish for is that more of the Greatest Generation were still alive and/or lucid enough to give us perspective. My parents grew up in the Great Depression, then were of the age that my father went to war, although his MOS was such that he did not see combat. After that, they went to work. Damn, they were tough.

I hope this thing doesn't kill me, but the fact that it is going to take out even more of the Greatest Generation REALLY pisses me off.

rickn8or said...

I've never been broke, but I could see it from where I was.