Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How can you afford your life?

So I exchanged a friendly greeting w/ a man on th street today. He probably saw th carabiner dangling from my belt loop holding a good dozen or so keys w/ brightly-colored markers bearing th names of dogs, because he asked me if I am a dog-walker. I said yes, & he asked how I liked it. I said I enjoyed it quite a bit, most of th time. Then, a little tentatively, he asked:

How can you afford your life?

An interesting question. He didn't mean any harm by it - just wanted to know how I could make enough money walking dogs. I said something like this:

Well, my life doesn't cost me that much. I don't feel a need to pursue th whole "middle-class thing" - a house, a garage, a fancy new car - that's not my bag.

He said something empty & agreeable like, "It's nice to live simply," & I said something equally empty & agreeable like, "I think so," & we continued on our ways.

It felt good to express that to someone & realize that I really meant it. I don't need or want any of that stuff. I'd rather live simply. Th freedom to not slave away for "th man" means a lot to me. Sometimes I feel like I've wasted time in Chicago, not using my music education degree, not "going back to school," not working a job that would allow me to save money. (Living paycheck to paycheck does make me crazy sometimes.) But I've pursued my own interests, & I've chosen to reject th common expectation. & I like that.

After that, of course, I thought of plenty of things I might have said. I might have gone on an anti-consumerism slash non-attachment rant like this:

Nobody really needs to live like an aristocrat, man. In order to get all th things our "American Dream" tells us we need to have, we have to work full-time (a crime for anyone to have to do), plugged into a destructive system, just keeping things status quo while we all die of cancer from our pollutants & heart-attacks from our sick sense of so-called "work ethic."

How can I afford to live? I don't know if you realize this, man, but as long as there's a sun in th sky, life is free. Fucking live it.

But I didn't go there. Wisely, perhaps.

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