Last week I dropped a receipt off at Medicare to get my refund. The line was long and I had shit to get done, so I filled out the form, stapled it to the doctor’s receipt, popped it in the box, and left to be busy and important.
As I got into the car, I thought about that act, and how foreign it was to me. Usually I am the one lined up, clutching the little deli number and waiting for at least half an hour to be seen, so the money can go straight back into my account.
But this day, I didn’t need the money so quickly and I did what the wealthy people do. I filled and filed, and let someone else take care of my problem.
Then I went to Aldi on the weekend to do my shopping. I share the love with supermarkets, moving between them all but on this day, I did a big shop at Aldi, and using my clever shopping bags, see below:
I was in and out of there in a short time, however, I did watch others packing their bags, organising and sorting their goods, as at Aldi you have to pack your groceries yourself.
This takes time.
Being poor takes time and time is a luxury when you’re always trying to work out how to save money, how to survive, how to get a job.
It takes time to call and get an extension on your phone bill, electricity bills, it takes time to go through your house and work out what to sell and then load it up onto eBay.
It takes time, because you walk to your destination instead of taking the car, because it’s not insured and anyway, you can’t afford the petrol. It takes time to cook every night because you have to work out what to do with red lentils, tuna and some cannellini beans, back from when you were fancy. And no, takeaway is not an option. As if!
Being poor absorbs your energy, your thoughts, your sleep. You make up time by not socialising but then you spend that time being depressed about how the hell to get out of your situation. You spend precious time thinking about how to take down a van carrying bank notes from the supermarket. You’re close to losing your mind.
The Australian Government is proposing that you must apply for forty jobs a month when you’re on unemployment benefits.
Who has the time? Not when you’re poor you don’t have the time. That’s ten jobs a week. And don’t argue with me that it’s a matter of firing off emails with your resume attached. It’s the hunting that takes time.
Hunting in the wild is sometimes weeks of stalking, watching, waiting. Survival eats away our time.
The rich have time to choose what to eat, where to shop, how to work. The moment we take our time for granted and see it as an entitlement, is the moment we lose our humanity.
Under the Abbott Government, I fear that time is here.