Sunday, November 15, 2009

Poverty is Relative

How come so soon after having returned from a developing country, where people seem to live on so little, I am back to whingeing about being poor?

I was having a little moment this morning of browsing possible holidays for a couple of weeks over January. I don't want much, just a road trip around Tassie or maybe campervanning around NZ on the cheap - but we just can't afford it. So I'm feeling sorry for myself because we are a single-income household and can't afford to go somewhere good over the Christmas holiday break. Boo hoo, poor me.

I know there are people out there who don't have enough to eat. I know there are people, even in our supposedly wealthy country, who can't afford a meal or shelter for themselves. I know how fucking lucky I am, I really do. We may be a single income household for the moment but it won't last forever (I hope!), and in the meantime we can afford our rent and the bills, with enough left over for a nice bottle of wine every now and then. We, unlike many people, are not in any debt - no compulsory mortgage, loan or credit card repayments. Not only do we manage to make ends meet, but we are comfotable without luxury.

So why, oh why do I feel so damn sorry for myself because I can't afford a summer holiday?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm trying to find a decent second-hand car. It's harder than I thought it would be, and I didn't expect it to be easy! I could spend the rest of this post giving the reasons why, and telling you how, it's been a pain, but I can't be assed, it's just too depressing.

My dad drove down from Singleton - a 6-hour drive -to help me look around, so I took the day off work and off we went. Part of me feels lame for needing my dad to help me out like this, but realistically I know that that older male presence carries weight. I had one bloke at a dealership (Geez I hate used car dealerships!) talking to me in baby talk before he saw I was accompanied by a man the same age as him. "We don't have any ummm cars, we've solded all the ummm cars alweady". Set my teeth on edges and made me want to tell him to fuck off then and there. We stood through the sales prattle, though. He had gone to all the trouble to peel his arse off his vinyl chair in his air-conditioned office after all, it seemed the least we could do.

I wish I didn't need a car. Mostly I ride my bike around, but there's times when you need a car - like lugging bales of pea straw or large pots from the garden centre, for example. And I can't help it, I love the freedom of just being able to go off for the weekend (or longer) on a camping adventure.

My other set of wheels is an old Raleigh mock-mountain bike. I say "mock" because it has a little sticker that reads THIS BICYCLE IS NOT DESIGNED FOR OFF-ROAD USE. Not that it's stopped me or the bike - we've done the Gibb River Road in WA together! My bike and I go way back - way back to the Year 2000, anyway. It was my main form of transport for a couple of years, until I got hit by a car in Sydney late 2002, after that I didn't ride much anymore. Not until I got to Tonga, and now I'm back on board in full swing - I even have lycra shorts!

I'm also contemplating a new set of different wheels - a pair of roller-skates! I'd like to give roller derby a go, but until I can stump up enough cash for a decent set of indoor quad skates I think I'll be stuck with the old Starfire 500's, the "artistic" white boot skate, complete with heel and glittery red wheels! I gave them a go last weekend, around Centennial Park with a friend, and geez it was fun! That night I went to sleep with the feel of tarmac rolling by under my feet.

So I guess I can make do with the wheels I've got - both 2-wheeled and 8-wheeled varieties - until something comes up that fits the bill with 4 wheels.