Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Being Poor in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs. 
Being poor is getting angry at your children for asking for all the crap they see on TV. 
Being poor is buying an $800 car because it’s what you can afford, and then having the car break down on you, because there is not an $800 car in New Zealand that is worth a damn. 
Being poor is hoping your toothache goes away. 
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours. 
Being poor is going to the toilet at school so you’re last to go get your lunch box and no-one wants to swap their lunch food with you anyway. 
Being poor is living next to the motorway. 
Being poor is living under power pylons. 
Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last. 
Being poor is wondering if your well-off brother is lying when he says he doesn’t mind when you ask for help. Being poor is pre-owned toys. 
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house. 
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt. 
Being poor is stealing meat from the shops, frying it up before your Mum gets home and then telling her she doesn’t have make dinner tonight because you’re not hungry anyway. 
Being poor is Salvation Army underwear. 
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you. Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your Salvation Army bought shoes when you run around the playground. 
Being poor is your kid’s school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning. 
Being poor is thinking $10.80 an hour is a really good wage. 
Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you. 
Being poor is working an overnight shift under florescent lights. 
Being poor is finding the letter your Mum wrote to your Dad begging him for the child support. 
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw. 
Being poor is believing passing a WINZ Training Course actually makes a bit of difference. 
Being poor is people being angry at you just for walking around in the local shopping mall. 
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your pre-school children. Being poor is the police bursting into the house right next to yours. 
Being poor is not talking to that girl because she’ll probably just laugh at your clothes. 
Being poor is hoping you’ll be invited to someone’s home for dinner. 
Being poor is a footpath with lots of brown glass on it. 
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk. 
Being poor is needing that 35cent raise. 
Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home. 
Being poor is six dollars short on the power bill and no way to close the gap. 
Being poor is crying when you drop the MacDonald’s Cheeseburger on the floor. 
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone anywhere and people still call you a bludger. 
Being poor is people being surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid. 
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy. 
Being poor is a six-hour wait in the hospital emergency waiting room with a sick child asleep on your lap. Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t already owned. 
Being poor is picking the 10xpack of two minute noodles instead of the single pack because there is two free packages in the 10xpack. 
Being poor is having to live your life with choices you didn’t realise you’d made when you were 14 years old. 
Being poor is getting tired of people expecting you to be grateful. 
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged. 
Being poor getting is a box of crayons and a $1 colouring book from a community centre Santa. 
Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every drink machine as you walk by. 
Being poor is deciding that it’s all right to base a relationship on a roof over your head. 
Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won’t listen to you begging them against doing so. 
Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away. 
Being poor is getting a $200 pay cheque advance from a company that then takes $250 when the pay cheque comes in. 
Being poor is a lumpy futon bed. 
Being poor is knowing where the nearest shelter is. 
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you would choose to live like that. 
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor. 
Being poor is seeing how few life options you really have. 
Being poor is running in place. 
Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.

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