Friday, October 20, 2017

The Poors

I was never poor, but I did live for many years as a "poor student." Being a poor student isn't like being actually poor and I fully understand that. It's an environment with lots of options even if you don't have any extra money. There are free or cheap social and cultural events, and even free pizza sometimes. You don't need an expensive wardrobe. You might be able to get by without a car, depending on where you are going to school. You have a bunch of peers who are, more or less, in the same situation you are (obviously some have a lot of help from the bank of mom and dad and some don't, but still).

But I did live in a tiny studio apartment for 5 years (this is grad school I am talking about). I did have to think about every dollar I spent, every beer I bought. Going out on an actual date, as in maybe taking somebody to a restaurant that wasn't a student budget restaurant, was a luxury. I didn't have money left over at the end of the pay period. I had to hustle a bit on the side (tutoring, that kind of thing) to have a tiny bit extra. Of course I "knew" (hoped, at least) that at the end of it I'd get a decent enough paying job. It was a temporary situation. And I was never going to be homeless. The bank of mom and dad would have helped that much, at least, if it was necessary. So I didn't really feel like I imagine genuinely poor people do. I was a student and one day I would make money.

Contemplating that...forever. The psychic cost of really never having any extra money, of always having to worry about every dollar that went out, to genuinely be concerned about paying the water bill. Being poor sucks and the stress must make people insane.