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2003-07-09 @ 5:15 p.m.
Give me a brake....

Ever had bad brakes and attempted to drive someplace without stopping? I do that everyday. I don't do highways because of the brakes, but I do plan my trips along routes without many stops.

I had a unique problem today. I was behind somebody with a bad trunk. I was trying to semi-glide through every stop like I always do. Miss Smooth Witty Kitty, you know. But suddenly the guy in front of me slams on his brakes and his back trunk flies up. And I, in turn, had to slam on my brakes and hear a mighty...scraaaaaape, ka-thunk (bad brakes, ya know...are you paying attention??). Then his trunk slams down. And I'm thinking, oh good. Next stop sign, same thing happens, his trunk flies up, and again I slam on my brakes, scraaaaaape, ka-thunk, ripping, I'm sure, deeper and deeper into the rotors. I don't know what rotors are, but you might as well be saying, "Yo rent money next month". Anyways, this continued on for several miles. With about 5 dreaded stop signs. And I'm thinking, God, why are you toying with me like this? You know I can't afford new brakes. Can you at least send me a winning lottery ticket or something? Pretty please. Or at least send somebody to buy my Scottish postcards on E-Bay?

I am truly a poor person. Food stamps. Church pantries. The whole nine yards. I was formerly a rich person. Not Donald Trump rich. Just comfortable. I grew up in Marin County, California in a house overlooking a country club. I went to private schools. My Dad drove a Mercedes (no thunking brakes there). We had a cabin at Lake Tahoe. I had credit cards. We took vacations. It was pretty hunky dory.

Now I worry about getting to food stamp recertification appointments. And when I get there I don't feel like I belong. I don't have multiple tatoos, multiple body piercings, multiple children with muliple partners like some. I don't wear Air Nikes or expensive clothes or sport air brushed nails like others. I'm somewhere inbetween. I'm in my own catagory. The formerly rich person, who doesn't really belong here, but has to be here, and really hates it here, but can't survive without it catagory. And I admit, I'm a secret snob, but I had to get over it the first time I went to a food pantry.

It was at a wealthy little enclave where little old ladies in the pantry hand you a list of what you can take off the shelves. I was very grateful for the help, but was bothered by the fact that they hover around you as you "shop". It was like they were afraid you were going to swipe an extra can of peas or something. I never took all that the list anyways, so the hovering made me a little resentful. (Poor people are so misunderstood). But since I have to go to the pantry to make it through the month, I just swallowed my pride and let the little gray haired hovercraft take note of how many cans of soup I put in my cart. But attitudes like this, whether they're intentional or not (the church lady's wasn't I don't think), is one of the things that keep poor people down. The rolling of eyes at the check out counters when you produce your food stamp card. The way the receptionist looks through you when you hand her your Medicaid card, tears away at your self esteem.

I've been on both sides of the fence, and even admitted that I'm a snob, but people can't always help where they are financially. I see plenty of people at the food stamp office who strut around and act like "You Owe Me!" and those people always seem to be the ones with the expensive leather coats on. I'm on disability and truly need food stamps. I've slowly been finding programs that help poor people, but I have never once said you owe me. So if I have to have a church lady hover over me, than I guess thems the breaks. It's a small price to pay to stay fed. Now if only I could afford some new brakes.

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty