Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So close

I've been reading the Tumblr for the 99%-- I can't possibly keep up with every posting, but I scan them periodically. What strikes me most is that these are (generally) not people living stupid lives; they're people who've done what middle-class people have been doing in this country for generations, and now have no way out, no help, no health insurance. The middle class of our parents' generation is fast becoming a memory.

There are some that hurt more than others to see. There are a good number of veterans on there, barely surviving. There are parents not knowing how they will pay for clothing for their babies. There are parents who eat one meal a day so their kids can eat three. There are people who can't afford medications and/or treatment for conditions that are easily helped with one or both of those things.

It's common for Americans to scoff at people like this. It's their fault. They made bad choices.

I don't think it's that simple any more.

I'm by no means the 1%, but I feel like I was one of the last generations that got to grow up with health insurance (thanks to my father's job), go to college, and have my loans paid off within a (somewhat) reasonable time period of finishing school. I even had much of my grad school paid for by companies I worked for, which is also going the way of the dodo. I bought a home that, while it's not worth nearly what it was, at least isn't underwater; if I had to sell, I'd come out OK.

I am very lucky. I wish other people were so lucky.

I am also acutely conscious of how little it would take to put me in the category of the unemployed, the uninsured, the foreclosed, the repossessed, the terrified over how to make ends meet.

Anyone who thinks they're safe, that somehow it couldn't happen to them-- well, it could. It can.

Unless you're part of the 1%, it could always happen to you. At any time. And as a single parent, this is even scarier than it is for those who have another income (or at least the potential for another income) to rely on.

I look at Elle's curls, at her rosy cheeks, and know I'd do anything for her. So would any parent for their child-- well, almost any parent, I guess. I try to imagine how it would feel not to be able to meet her basic needs. It is an absolutely terrifying thought.

** **

I lost a co-worker (and friend) this week. It was a terrible accident. We'd just talked the evening before it happened, laughing over some silly situation in her office. The next morning, I sent off several e-mails to her, not knowing that she was already gone.

If we're talking about absolutely terrifying thoughts, let me add this to the list: not living long enough to take care of Elle. Not living long enough for her to remember me.

Rest in peace, my friend. Rest in peace. Your daughter is in my prayers.

1 comment:

Tiara said...

I'm sorry to read about your loss.