Monday, June 14, 2010

Sweet oblivion

Today I decided that worrying about money isn't worth the hassle. The steering wheel-gripping, waking up with a sick stomach, holy sh*t hassle.
I decided this in the grocery store, with two kids in tow, at around 8 p.m. Brought the reusable bags in, knowing that I only had enough cash to fill two, and that we needed enough cash to fill six. Anna carried one bag and we all fine-toothed it through the produce section.
"Pick two fruits each," I said, practically shaking.
"How about a bag of apples," Lucian asked.
"Nope, half of 'em will just go to waste. Two fruits."
I continued to walk briskly as they chased behind me. We whizzed by the cheap-o toys and useless muscle mags, didn't give the meat counter a second glance, and headed right for the basics. Milk (a pint), cereal (one box), cheese (one block on sale), bread (buy one get 18 free), veggies (one pepper, two celery stalks, one crown of broccoli), and so on.
"Ok," I said, noticing that the kids were winded by the speed of my nervous pace, "We got everything we need?"
It wasn't really a question because the answer had to be yes.
Lucian looked at our two bags, looked at my tight face and asked "When do you get paid again?"
"Not soon enough," was Anna's reply.
Smart girl.
Not soon enough. I can't pay these bills soon enough. And yet, they flow in like river water down a mountain. I can't stop it with a dam, it won't dry up and go away, it just keeps flowing and rolling and yanking at branches and rocks and whatever it can sweep in.
The only thing to do is raft it, and try and brace yourself for the dips and froth, and waterfalls.
And, being the somewhat dark, sick person of humble parentage that I am, I can't help but feel the adventure of poverty. It's not like this would be the first time, but for some reason I feel smarter, more edgy about being broke. Somehow, I know how to handle it, I know what's important and I know, I have to know, that like everything else, it'll all work out in the end.
It has to.
Once, when my father was stressing about money (which was always), I, in my sixteen-year-old wisdom, pulled out a tiny beat up Bible and frantically searched the pages. Back then, I knew that book so well. A line from Joshua appeared and I read it to him.
"Have I not commanded you, be not afraid?"
My father still reminds me of that day, when I actually knew something. And he says he won't forget it.
"One breath at a time, Chole, that's all you can do."
We're gonna be eating a lot of eggs this month.

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