What Brought You Here?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You May Have Read This Someplace Else. 1
Trader Joe would roll over in his cartoon grave if he knew the sort of crap they were stuffing his bags with at this food bank. It's seriously like 1985's school lunch mated with 2007's airline courtesy snack and refused to quit drinking during the pregnancy.

3 self-contained fruity-sounding individual beverages
4 POW chocolate pudding cups
3 packs BBQ sunflower seeds
2 packs animal crackers
5 granola bars
1 individual serving frosted flakes
3 packs vanilla wafers
1 box Eggo Waffles cereal
2 flourescent jello fruit cups
box pasta salad
box flavored triscuits, proving the Spite of the Divine for bulimics
can veg. stew, condensed veg soup, green beans varicolored sodium
can tuna
inexplicable single serving packet each of salt/pepper

And somehow they also managed to come out with 2 pounds each of rice and kidney beans, and 3 of oatmeal. The salt and pepper was a nice touch, but you have to wonder if anyone really labored under the delusion that it was going to suffice for 4 freaking pounds of uncooked rice and beans? I was also under the distinct impression that ordinary people employ stuff like fat and sugar in their cooking. . . though I suppose those things can be scavenged from fast food establishments and what have you. Maybe not fat so much, but, eh- I'm more or less okay on that front.

What's more than a little disturbing is that these places appear to more or less entirely ignore dairy. And I would try to feel bad about my bitching, but how are you going to give out cereal without milk? Powdered milk would be absolutely fine. Unfortunately I live in an area where the majority of adults have managed to convince themselves they are lactose intolerant. There would probably be a lot of waste if they didn't prioritize and limit the grocery bags with calcium-rich stuff to children-and-pregnant-women-households. Somehow I can't help but feel cheated, though. The ethnicity of the neighborhood pretty much dictates the food, right down to eliminating entire food groups! Why can't I live in a Jewish ghetto, damnit? (I await your holocaust jokes with baited breath. )

Okay, I'm making light of this and complaining, but honestly this is the only place I can make fun of the charity food I receive. This is the only place I can express the shame I felt for making a veteran working at the church feel guilty when he realized I wasn't a volunteer. For not standing up to join everyone in prayer-on a Saturday morning, mind you- mumbling to the vet that I belong to a different faith. While everyone prayed I kept prying the staples out of the housing assistance packets with my fingers as he'd instructed me. I mean, I would like to contribute in some way if I can. I don't want to be a complete asshole. Though I really wanted to tell him I couldn't feel my fingers. If a black man could turn red, this poor guy would have turn purple when I raised my hand as a "newcomer" to be interviewed.

The interview was- well, less humiliating than it could have been. Though it certainly could have been easier. About halfway through I realized I could have lied about everything- my name, the number of people in my household, my address. . . they didn't ask for proof of anything. I realized this because the woman interviewed before me kept remembering she needed to come back to add fully-eligible dependents to her household. (As opposed to dependents under the age of 2, on behalf of whom one could apparently only take half a portion- or something.) I'd like to think this displays integrity on my behalf, but it's probably more dull-wittedness. That, and a realization that no household with a fully ambulatory member would send a woman with a cane to pick up food for the lot of them.

The interview also entailed explaining whether I am looking for work. (No. Yes. Does occasionally trying to read want ads and crying count?) I had to tell them when I last worked (drag myself up the mountainside) vaguely explain my profession (tie a noose around my neck) and tell them what the hell is wrong with me, so that the social worker could pick the condition she thought she could spell and write it down (and throw myself over the cliff.)

I realized my folding cane had come apart as I was getting up from the interview, and somehow managed to say "Shhhhoot" in the church basement.

This bank is once-a-month, too. It seems like perhaps they all are. But nobody seems to have mentioned not using more than one. It's been pretty clearly established that these people do not entertain any delusions of the provisions actually lasting a month.

Look, I know I'm an asshole- but what else can I do? It's almost funny how what I'm doing is immoral, but not illegal. If I were slick enough to shoplift or daring enough to run my own little business, I wouldn't be taking food from old people, vets & single mothers. I'd really only be taking from big business and the government. This is a nasty, ugly world. It protects the interests of those faceless structures to the detriment of the most vulnerable, and it makes me ugly along with it.

1.And if this is the case, you need to get outside more. You may, on the other hand, have read it two places else. In this case, you need to get a therapist.

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