Went grocery shopping yesterday. If ever there was a time to demand corporations stop passing on their expenses to the consumer, it is indeed now. Our grocery bill has jumped over 30%. Not like we're eating steak and lobster either. Basic food items, in bulk when I can. Watching for sales of items I buy. Coupons, too. I'm even baking our own bread at this point, eating more vegetarian. With the cost of fuel "rising", with harsh weather wiping out crops, and with corporate america's mantra of "we ain't eating this expense...let's pass it onto the consumer", this problem is only going to continue obviously. Mr. N and I will be growing some of our own food this year, depending on the cost of making raised beds that is. My idea of taking some of this land that is being destroyed in this city by corporate retailers and instead turning it into community garden plots is one needing to be implemented. Now.
And we have the daylight savings time. What a crock. Corporate America's wet dream. They think with more daylight, people will spend more cash. The premise being, when you leave your home you spend the greens. The only thing I like about the increased daylight is evening bike rides, walks and bbq's. The change in time has a real impact on our biological internal clocks. I'm quite sensitive to it. I've resisted, for years, this twice-a-year clock change. Let's pick a structured time and stick with it, shall we? Being that won't likely happen in the foreseeable future, there are things we can do to show these corporate fucktards their little plan won't be working. If you do decide to spend more time away from the home and you are able-bodied, ride your bike. Go to the library or a free concert or lecture instead of giving some restaurant chain, clothing store or movie theatre your hard earned cash. Take a walk (again, if you are able-bodied) with your spouse. Bring along your animal friends. They'll be very appreciative! Gather with neighbors in the street and do some old-fashioned talking. Anymore ideas?
While this area has a fairly large number of social service agencies, what is grossly lacking is their awareness of what each agency offers. I cannot count the number of occasions I have discovered something offered by a particular agency through my own doing. I would think they would have some sort of a network so that if a potential client calls seeking services, if it is something they don't or can't offer, they would know if a neighboring agency may be able to help. Common sense, right? Also shows empathy, compassion, and certainly a commitment to helping out those in need. I recently experienced this when I inquired about the low income utilities assistance program. I call up the city, ask what it's about. "I don't know," I was told. "Contact The United Way. They sponsor it." So, I ring up the United Way. "Call CSC. They do our screening," I'm told. So I ring up CSC. And, as is usually the case, I have to leave a message or two (or more), then call back. CSC staff is notoriously known for not returning phone calls. So I finally connect with the CSC staff person, who sends me an application. Upon receiving it, I was surprised to find out the numerous living expenses The United Way will pay for or help pay for, on a one-time basis. Health care expenses. Utility expenses. The list was certainly longer than I expected. And in all of my years of dealing with DHS, CSC and other agencies, not once was I told about this program. A program that is usually referred to clients through said agencies.
I once had the idea, years back, of a very part-time non-profit, whose sole responsiblity it was to know what each of the community private and public agencies offered and to have a manual that is given out to each agency. A manual that is updated twice a year so information is current, something I have found oh so lacking in local agencies. Anyone care to fund that idea? I'll take on the task.
In all of this chaos, hope can be difficult to feel, to find. If anything, as we go through this experience, as I go through this experience, I find myself taking more time to focus on the present and to see those things I'm thankful for. Gratitude. I admit, sometimes I cling to those moments fiercely. And in those moments, when I'm sitting silently holding Mr. N's hand or snuggled with our little pooch, when I see people connecting with one another, neighbors talking, when I see one of those cars here in town with the variety of bumper stickers promoting peace, love and progressive ideas, I feel that sense of hope. Regardless of what "their" agenda is, I still come back to the basic idea that as long as we retain our sense of compassion, care and connection with one another, hope, and thus possibility will always remain. It's something no one can take from us.