[That stereotype about British people loving tea? Yeah, completely true.]
“Ooo, very good packing skills,” comments the cashier.
Is there a correct response to that? I settled for, “I do try.”
So, because I am a secret raging hippy I take a canvas bag when I go for a few messages (aka groceries). It’s always the same one so I now have this ultra effective logistical thing going on with it.
Those of you who are aware of catering health and safety fridge packing- when you pack bags do you follow the same rules?
Either by bag or by layer you may find that- cleaning products are kept vaguely separate from food; raw meats are together at the bottom; dairy products and cooked meats follow; there is a colourful veg layer on top; toilet roll and milk have handles that then dictate no need for a bag; the snack/juice you bought will be consumed on the walk home. Although I do appreciate that in some places in the world walking home is out of the question, here in Britain there is no way you need a car to get to the local grocery store (unless cat litter is involved and in which case “DO you even lift?”).
The more striking thing for me is that I had never considered my new behaviour. Following catering standards makes sense of course, it’s just…
Life was not stable enough for me to need any packing habits before. Before, I was living on “stolen” tea bags and sugar from my flatmate, “stolen” biscuits at work and the cheapest pasta and tinned tomatoes money could buy. There was a necessity that I go to the effort of searching each major grocery provider to figure out who was selling those two things the cheapest.
Why pasta and tomatoes? Starch is a great store of energy and tomatoes contain vitamin C. I didn’t fancy getting scurvy.
Can you tell I was unaware of what other deficiencies can do to you? Although I was taking my flatmate up on the hospitality she offered in the 800 tea bags she got us, I could not bring myself to also take milk. As a result, I now have 6 teeth missing.
It’s not all doom and gloom though; don’t worry. Like I say, I am now at a stage where I can buy actual food and have packing habits.
This experience… ordeal… down and out period… whatever you want to call it… Is now the reason that I smart when people and the media try to tell me the economy is recovering. Sure, I now have financial stability, but I find that that is despite the economic hardships we’re facing.
The struggle to get to this point was made so much harder in these past years. Maybe some people will think that an exaggeration- an egocentric point of view that disregards the struggles past generations and other impoverished nations suffer.
It is true that this entire post is relative to my understanding of what it used to and is like to live in my country. Yet, I do not do so with ignorance. When things get difficult in these parts of the world, they can only get insurmountably worse in poorer regions. That’s the reason I have a truly heavy heart.
Here, I could fight it. Find work, dodge bills until I had enough capital, and get by on friend’s hospitality of food and shelter. You will not find my name on the last census, but neither would you have found me on the streets when it was being conducted.
As J.K.Rowling put so well having been as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, rock bottom can be a solid foundation on which to rebuild your life, “but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.”
I find it difficult now to keep my financial stability (which does scare me and cause floods of tears every now and again), but I also find that I cannot make ethical purchasing choices on the precipice I just surmounted. Being a secret raging hippy means I would love to grow my own food, purchase free range meats locally, by everything else fair-trade and organic. As yet, that is not actually feasible on this income bracket.
Last week I bought 100 tea bags, fair-trade, for £3. That’s the same as other companies tea bag prices when it isn’t fair-trade. Totally worth it.
The question I cannot answer that has fuelled this line of thought- why is this Establishment so damn determined to make it as difficult as possible to be good and live life?