I think one of the best things about being poor is learning how cruel life is at an early age… especially if you live within driving distance of a more affluent society. That way, you get the full effect of what it’s like to see someone else eat things that you only thought were possible for famous TV characters or super rich people.
I never grew up in the service industry, but I did see my grandmother working the back kitchen. She’d cook all the time there and then at home, as well. I remember sitting in the kitchen and just watching her and my mom cook and being amazed at the chemistry involved with putting in “just the right amount of ingredients” to make something taste fantastic that came out of a can.
However, I can imagine that the service industry is full of self-entitled customers: those that think they are there for servants that should treat them a specific way, hand and foot. I saw a documentary once where a teacher gave all the students on one end unlimited funds, and the students on the other had to fight and work their way to pay even the simplest bills. At the end, they found that the students with all the money were rude, succinct, and demanding. The other students were very docile and responded with kindness towards each other, especially if they were in the same monetary range. When switched, both sets started the exhibit all the characteristics of the other one… often feeling regret when they’re coming from the “rich side” to the “poor one”.
But in the real world, do we have the opportunity to switch? Given the circumstances and 80s movies where the rich are humorously switched with their poorer counterparts, do they even really learn a lesson or are they just relieved to not feel sad for 24 hours a day? I ask myself these questions because I am not sheltered. Neither my mom, dad, and family – nor did my environment – have kept me from learning the lessons that are present when only one side of society is allowed to show me anything about life.
No one really thought that poor people, where I lived at the time, were victims of circumstance brought on by institutional nuances to create “poor people”. They thought they were all due to their self-doing. Even more, they thought that poor people only wanted to be ignorant, dull, and uninformed. That their only interest was to learn a skill that was a trade, and then move on to buying that big screen TV and having beer nights and producing more offspring to start over the process, again.
However, this is a lie perpetuated by the sheltered: the ones that won’t come out of their two-story dwellings to see anything else but what was carefully put in front of them. And then told lies upon lies while still remaining in their households and fake realities.
Sounds conspiracy theorist, doesn’t it? Sounds laden with jargon about how the “man’s trying to keep us down”? Well, it’s that and it’s not.
Sure, there was an institution setup to create this kind of havoc. That is absolutely true. However, what isn’t true is how pervasive it might be. For instance, yes… there are schools that will only accept people based off their race or, moreso, socioeconomic status (a nicer cover). However, there are places where this actually doesn’t exist and since people of a lower income status are so used to being segregated against, they usually go about with just complaining that they’d never actually “go anywhere” within that system nor even come close to being accepted without a great deal of angst and resentment while they’re trying to get the help, encouragement, and knowledge that they need.
I’m more of the latter half. I’ve used “institutionalized segregation” as an excuse more than once and on more than one occasion. It doesn’t help to be surrounded by people who think, act, and believe the same. I’ve tried taking myself off that race and onto the other side, only to discover that just as much as those other people I left believed in the institutionality of it all, the other side was so deftly blind against it.
So, if it isn’t one side, it’s the complete opposite.
What is one to do in this matter? Do you just sit in the middle, carefully avoiding both sides without making them angry at you? Or do you expose the truth to both and flash it in front of their faces without even a care?
I’ve seen people do the latter and all it got them was people hating them. Yes, they saw the truth, but the EXECUTION OF THE TRUTH is what mattered. No one wants to be told that their butt looks fat in jeans… but they do want to be told that those jeans aren’t flattering and to have help with finding another pair that are.
What’s in it for most people who are not in either side, but somewhere in the middle? Peace. Sure, resounding, pleasant peace.
I know there are stories about the angels or entities that lie in the middle when there is a conflict going on, and that those who are non-action are as guilty as those that take undesirable action. But the key to fighting is: Know WHEN to fight. Sometimes sitting on the sidelines and watching what’s going on is the best strategy that money cannot buy.
I’ve waited on the sidelines. I’ve watched as battle after battle has been fought and won… or loss. I’ve seen people cry, yell, scream, rejoice, dance, and antagonize over every little detail. But the best thing I’ve ever seen or done for myself is to wait. Wait it out, see what happens, and calculate my next move.
Reality is about skill and structure. Carefully analyzing your steps are most important. That’s where the harshness comes from.