Monday, May 3, 2010

The Undeserving

I drive around in the car that my parents bought me with the insurance money they were given after I got into an accident in the car that they had previously given me. While I drive, I put the windows down and turn the music up as loud as it will go. The music comes from a black ipod that was bought for me by a friend for my birthday after I stupidly left my old one, that I saved up for an entire summer to buy, in my car - that was when I found out that the locks didn't work all the time.

Sometimes when I'm driving around in the bubble that I've created, I come to stop lights and intersections. At these places are men and women two, three times my age with signs. Written on those signs are questions, thoughts, sometimes the single word "help."

I'm not a religious person, and I wasn't even raised Catholic, but I've adopted that cross thing that they do. And while I'm avoiding eye contact, I look up to the God that may or may not exist, but I believe in, and I do that cross thing and think to myself how good I've got it.

Those men and women have lived longer than I, and they've probably worked harder and experienced things that I may never experience, both good and bad. When the light turns green I think of the granola bar that I keep in my glove compartment and how I should have given it to them, but it's too late. Then I show up late to wherever I'm going, somewhere that requires me to have money, gas money, ticket money, food money - money. Disposable income. Money that I can spend freely on whatever I choose, because I earned it, because I'm fortunate enough in my twenty years to have both a job and parents who make up the difference.

Today I looked at studio apartment in a clean building that didn't have roaches or mice, and there was a diverse population in both age and ethnicity that lived in the building. I looked at this building because I like nice things, and while I don't consider my upbringing to be particularly luxurious, I wasn't poor and I've never known real hunger. I have gone to the dentist every six months my entire life, and when I get sick I don't have to worry about absurd premiums. And when the crazies start to creep in, I can pay someone to listen to my demons. And when something doesn't go my way, I can make a fuss until it does, because I wasn't told no very often.

And it's because I am not familiar with the word no that I am able to fumble my way around and maintain the level of comfort that I feel I deserve. But I don't, at all. And that is really scary.

I'm trying to earn it.