Monthly Archives: February 2014

That time I unfriended someone

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So the other day one of my FB friends posted this:

food stamp ecard

And they captioned the post with something about nail salons, tanning beds, maxed out credit cards and financed BMWs, indicating that they felt that a lot of people who receive food stamps are somehow able to afford a rich lifestyle.

And I chose not to get excited about it.  I mean, I could have been offended on a few counts.  For starters, Coach isn’t properly capitalized and neither is iPhone5.

Oh, and also the vast majority of people receiving assistance are not soulless jerks just taking advantage of the sheeple taxpayers.

The person who posted it got a few responses; I myself related how I was on food stamps in nursing school.  When I graduated, my mother gave me a Coach purse as a graduation gift.  I left it at home when I shopped for food.  A few months after graduation I got a good job and stopped the food assistance.  I remember calling them and telling them I didn’t need it anymore.  They sounded surprised that I called.  I guess some people would have just let the assistance keep coming until the yearly re-application process.

Anyway, the next person who commented was very angry and said that this was an insult to poor people and other things like that.  I really do agree and so I commented back that I had chosen not to get excited about it, I feel that this sentiment applies to a gazillionth of a percent of those who receive aid of whatever type, and so while I wouldn’t perpetuate it, neither would I get excited about it either because life is too damn short.

Then the poster commented that we were missing the point, and in the course of further back-and-forth comments it became apparent that this person feels themselves to be an expert on the subject of the sort of people receiving food aid due to information gathered while “people watching” at the grocery store.

I commented again that it is impossible to know what someone’s situation is just by what can be observed.  I related how I currently hold a temporary disabled parking permit due to foot pain.  No one looking at me would know that every step I take is at best uncomfortable and at worst quite painful, because I don’t show it.  I look like anyone else.  But my feet hurt all the time, often to the point that I dread stopping at the store on the way home because it will involve walking.

I also pointed out that it is impossible to know a person’s situation based on what the person is carrying around because when they ran into trouble, lost their job or got sick or whatever, their Coach purse didn’t magically convert to a Walmart bag.

Also?  Knockoffs can be quite convincing.  Fauxch anyone?

The poster’s next comment is what caused me to withdraw from the conversation and abruptly unfriend:  Wish I could get a parking permit and some benefits!  Thanks taxpayers!

Except that I added the punctuation and capitalization etc. because yeah.

So, here’s the deal.  I work with people who have serious mental illness.  They survive on state and federal benefits.  Without those, they would be on the streets or in prison or the hospital.  None of these options are particularly pleasant.  We house them and feed them and care for them with food stamps and financial assistance.  They don’t own Coach purses and iPhone5s unless someone gives them one, and frankly nobody does.

And?  I’m a taxpayer and have been since I was 18 years old.  I pay into the system and therefore if I need assistance during a rough patch, whether it’s for food to feed my kid and myself with while I finish school so I can get a better job, or whether it’s to reserve the privilege of parking closer to the store so I don’t hurt any more than I have to (when I can find a damn space, and when there aren’t other spaces nearby that are nearly as good which I take so the old ladies can have the disabled spots because old ladies) — having paid into the system, I can tap it for a little help when needed.

The poster, it should be noted, is trying to start a business using one of those annoying “sell things to your friends” schemes — perhaps the most obnoxious and notorious one, but I’m not going to identify the poster or the scheme here — and often posts about how they are building their business by having meals at restaurants and coffee at Starbucks with other like-minded individuals, i.e. shallow people who think it’s okay to make their friends and families uncomfortable by shilling crappy goods at them without provocation.

And drives an Audi.

And is a soulless jerk.

I chose not to engage any further because I’m not great at arguing, and because this person was not so important to me that I felt I needed to continue.  I’m not going to change this person’s mind.  This person will not grow compassion via a conversation on Facebook.

I also chose to end the whole thing because I have recently become acquainted with the Fuck-Off Fairy, and she has made my life so much better.  I don’t have to absorb the toxic bullshit of every unimportant little worm that comes along with an opinion.  I can walk away and know that the uninformed, absolute sewage spewing from this person’s mouth just defines them as someone I don’t want to know at all, and that’s perfectly okay.

I recently had a discussion with my daughter about this fairy, although I named her the Bug-Off Fairy because my daughter is nine years old.  I want her to get acquainted with this fairy at a MUCH younger age than I did.  It will make her life so much better.

 

 

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Sew Happy

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So my 9 year old giant kid, Delia, and I visited my mother on Friday.  It was a day off of school and I seized the opportunity to drag her down to Mom’s for a sewing lesson.  With a surprise.

I mentioned to Delia that we were going to Grandma’s for a sewing lesson.

“But I already know how to sew,” she said.  Meaning that she could thread a needle and hand-stitch little projects from a kit and had made her own creations once or twice.

“Grandma wants to show you how to sew using a sewing machine,” I told her.  She seemed pleased.

We arrived in due course and Mom showed her around the sewing room and we looked at some projects, mostly quilts.  There was a box wrapped in cupcake-themed gift wrap on the dining room table, which we passed several times but was never mentioned.  Eventually Mom left the room and Delia sidled over to me.

“Mama, there’s that box over there but I don’t want to be rude and ask about it,” she said.

Note: this is a first.  I would not have been even slightly surprised had she dropped broad, obvious hints about wondering who that present could be for.  In fact, I was rather surprised not to hear them.

Eventually Mom returned and in due course asked Delia if she knew the expression, “the elephant in the room.”  She didn’t, so we explained it to her.  “So, what do you think the elephant in this room is?” Mom asked her.

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And so it was that she was given the box, and opened it, and inside was a small, neat beginner’s sewing machine.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon having a basic sewing lesson, learning to load the bobbin and thread the needle and make stitches.  It’s a very nice little machine, easy to use and quite good quality.

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As we packed up to leave Mom permitted us entry into the Inner Sanctum where bits and scraps of this and that were selected from her very tidily maintained Stash.  2014-01-31 13.44.51

We returned home rich in material goods (literally) and the next morning found Delia getting into the shower as I dragged myself out of bed.  I commended her on her initiative, and she told me that she figured if she took care of getting ready to go, she might have time for sewing before leaving for the Girl Scout function we had to attend.

She might have time for sewing. 

I think we’re doing something right here.

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