NP: How Much a Dollar Really Cost - K. Lamar
Who gave this mouse the permission to eat the hummus off of my roommate's fork? I love my roomie but he is always, unconsciously, leaving treats behind for Minnie and Micky. The worst is when he leaves spoons in the sink, with thick traces of peanut-butter on them. I had roaches in my apartment as child. Growing up, my grand taught us to rinse and fill the dishes with water if we weren't going to immediately wash them; that way, the roaches wouldn't come and feed off of what was left in them. My roomie never rinses anything. When I went into the kitchen, nasty brown Micky ran out of the sink and hid behind the washing machine. It's a sign that I cannot get too comfortable. I need to keep grinding. But it's quite frustrating. Our apartment is so clean. I mean really, we keep it spotless... But we still can't seem to get rid of the rodents.
But I'm living with them. When I moved into this space, I declared, "I am going to write my way out of this room." Currently, my shoebox of a room houses all of my belongings. I don't need much. All I do is rest, read, and write in here ...but I desire more space to create. Thing is: I want to own my next place. That I shall. Hence, the reason I have not been out of the country since I moved to NYC, a year and four months ago. I'm saving for what I really want but is this a glimpse of true NYC living? No vacations, cramped spaces, and unwanted house guests? No way. I have to hustle, sacrifice, and hold fast to a disciplined budget for a little while longer.
Today is Black Friday. I went to the post office to drop some thank you cards in the mailbox... Walked by VIM on my way back and noticed they had the Rihanna Creepers in the window. I wanted the black, suede ones for a long time but they sold out in stores, and on eBay, they were over priced. I went inside of the store to find that they were only $16 andddd they were having a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale. I tried them on and felt like a winner. Few hours have gone by and I just realized that I have a shirt that I still need to return to American Apparel. Today is the perfect day for a return because I'm sure the whole store is on sale.
I just got to the A train platform and low and behold, there's a girl standing there with my shoes on, only hers have a Puma sign on the sides. She has the real Creepers, not the $16 pair. Does that make her better than me? Up until recently, I lived by the motto, "Don't buy knock offs. If you can't afford to buy it, just don't." But I bought these and I love them.
My view on coveting luxury items has evolved, tremendously, over the years. The more I journey, the more my perspective widens. When I got off the MegaBus in DC a few nights ago, I counted about two dozen people sleeping on the floor, as if they were rose petals, scattered out to welcome me upon my entrance into Union Station at 4AM. "Maybe they're not homeless. Maybe they are just sleeping, waiting for their train to arrive." There's no real way to tell the difference. All I know is, their current shelter is not a home and their beds are not mattresses. Concrete for sheets and lumpy backpacks for pillows.
I walked through the halls, passing all of the closed shops, but a striking newsstand displaying Donald Trump inauguration tee-shirts made me stop looking at the peacefully resting homeless men adjacent from my feet. I began to ponder how will the work I am doing in the classroom alleviate and diminish everything I am witnessing? The youth. My students. They have to take on this responsibility, a responsibility that none of us asked for... But who else can we look to for hope? Trump?? The man promising to make America "great again" ??? Does his America include my brothers who sleep in one of the many landmarks the sons of the enslaved helped to build? Trump did not build America, they did. We did. Therefore, we have to gain the control to fix things. We already have the power. Whether I am in the classroom or not, this is what I must convey and model for my students: forget about name-brands and frivolous material items, focus on building your awareness and putting it into the most effective use.