“The good thing about being poor,” she said, “is that you can’t buy things that you don’t need.”
There is a dream about it where paths go wandering and are cleared of rubble off to the sides and rocks line it and green grows all along it — yellow, pink, white and purple flowers scatter high and low — and critters run to and fro.
Birds light the trees and mornings offer music for drinking coffee at the table.
Nothing is wasted and nothing is useless.
Everything fits together.
All in harmony and beauty.
“When I have more money than I need, I spend it wildly — like splurging on a cup of Starbucks coffee — though I would never. I like the organic Mexican variety I get at Walmart and for six bucks I get six or seven pots…or more. What a waste Starbucks is and yet there is a queue a mile long whenever I pass it. Let’s go to lunch,” she says, “I’ll treat.”
She had a little extra money and wasn’t spending it wildly but wanted to treat her similarly-poor friend to a bean burrito, which she wanted.
“I do think I will get a new, used washing machine though, because the muscles and bones in my shoulders just won’t let me keep up with all this hand-washing.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” her friend said. “And yes, I’m up for a bean burrito, thank you.”
“I’m not going to pay for your drink though. That’s a pure waste of money and it’s poison and I just won’t buy your poison or waste that kind of money.”
As soon as she said it she regretted because it isn’t very giving to make conditions like that but she wanted her friend to keep on living. She was about the only friend she had now.
The clear paths and beautiful flowers were waiting on someone to get better. Someone who was gloomy and sadly thinking and the stray cats were eating all the birdies. There had been a cat that morning pouncing on the stick pile digging for a lizard.
“Hold on while I go scat a cat,” she asked her friend on the phone another day that they were talking.
“I thought you said, ‘Hold on while I go stab a cat’,” her friend exclaimed when she got back.
They had a hoot together and ended up talking the rest of the afternoon trying to see who was the most disturbed over living or to cheer each other up a little.
“Yeah, all the rich people I’ve ever known I haven’t liked,” her friend said.
They talked about the rich people that they’d known and how most of them had gotten it by ill-getting — someone else had to suffer for them to have it or they had cheated things somehow. If they had gotten it in safer ways, they were nonetheless rabidly consuming or living lifestyles that scarcely took much into consideration other than what they wanted or needed.
“Archie used to bill one of his clients twice because they were such a big company and were set up such that they never noticed and I knew of him burning down a building for the insurance. Actually he probably paid someone else to do it for him, but they were all laughing about it just the same.”
They couldn’t think of anyone they knew that they thought of as rich that had gotten it in a way that they admired — or who were spending it in any way that they could envy. They all kid themselves but somehow money corrupts and destroys — and they all end up having way more stuff than anyone could need — they agreed, and that it all looked like too much greed and then they decided that they could never be happy having more money than what they would ever really need.
“You know, people in India sitting on dirt floors with flies hovering around them all the time would think I’m a millionaire and that that bag of organic Mexican coffee was a total waste of money or a splurge. I need to stop thinking that I’m anything less than wealthy. I have no reason at all to be unhappy.”
Things are so relative and so much sadness is uncalled for. It helps a lot to have friends to talk to.
Evenings were cooling and it wouldn’t be long before the days would be too. The paths would turn brown with rubble and dead weeds still in them but it might just be, that long before spring, the sad mood would leap out of the soul it was menacing and leave that soul to be the thing that could change things. There’s magic in dirt even when there’s no bother — things pop up routinely without trouble — though it might do better with a happy helper —
the path wasn’t likely to clear itself.
Everyone’s just trying to leave something of value behind.