One book I’m reading right now – Flight Behavior – is about a poor country family who’s back farm suddenly becomes a roosting site for monarch butterflies. They aren’t usually there so it sends the entire science and environmental community into a tizzy.
Difference of class is a huge theme in the book. In one section an environmentalist is trying to get locals to sign a pledge of reducing their carbon footprint by “flying less” and “maintaining your vehicles” and “bringing your own togo containers for restaurant leftovers”. The main character informs him that her husband’s truck is on it’s third engine and she hasn’t gone out to eat in two years (no mention on the flying).
Our family sees the world through middle class glasses. We have a bank account, we go grocery shopping once per week, if we need a repair done, we can figure out how to do it ourselves, or hire someone. We know how to educate our son so that he will be accepted to college. We are free to be minimalistic. We know that we could get a credit card and a house loan and move back to typical middle class life.
We would not be welcome at some RV parks where they require that your rig be worth a certain amount of money. We do not know how to hire a high end lawyer or a sommelier, or a nanny, or a pool cleaner. We would not be invited skiing.
On the other end, we don’t know how to get around without a car. I have seen bus lines here but I haven’t paid attention and I can’t read a bus map to save my life. We don’t know what churches have free dinners when. We don’t know how to barter well.
Even though we have a less than middle class income, we still know that if we work hard enough, and do the right things, and vote correctly, we will be taken care of and have a nice, stable retirement.
Being in an RV – we meet a wide variety of people. People who’s summer home is more money than we make in 5 years on one side, and one of Andrei’s friends on the other – we were pretty sure he would be homeless except his grandma let him and his mom stay in her trailer.
Looking at the world around us it’s easy to think everyone thinks just like us and has history just like us, but chances are they’re more different than the same. I’d like to be more open to others and learning what it’s like through different glasses – quoting the book – “I don’t learn anything when I listen to myself talk.” (that means comment, people!)
Spent – a choose your own adventure game where you have no job but none of the pain (in real life, anyway)