I am hungry. I open the refrigerator and stare at the nearly empty shelves. Scowling, I think, There's nothing to eat. I begin to envision favorite restaurants around the city of New Orleans. Yes! I'll go out and eat. Somewhere between here and KIPP school. And I'll sit and read or write and have lunch for an hour and then go to work.
Almost immediately fear and guilt and anger start seeping into mind and body. How can I justify spending one red cent in a restaurant when rent is due in less than two weeks? What does it matter? I rationalize. Be happy now. Enjoy the freedom that poverty brings. I know what a responsible, mature, practical person would do... Is there any possibility of my becoming responsible and mature and practical before I die?
I look in the refrigerator again...
4 hard-boiled eggs
stalk of broccoli
carton of yogurt
slice of bread
two slices of bacon
pint of half-n-half
tub of butter
There's nothing to eat is not true. In fact, there's plenty to eat. The scarcity of options is the issue. Feels almost like an absence of choice but, of course, choice is always available. In this case, I have a choice among (between?) a limited number of food items.
Even if there were more items in the refrigerator, say, two tubs of butter and 6 Guiness and 4 cartons of yogurt and a full loaf of bread, I'd probably still complain about the lack of variety. What a funny thought for a woman who has frequently wept in grocery stores, overwhelmed by the variety and longing for simplicity.
And I think about my refusal to pay for cable TV because it's waaaay too much of the same old thing. Lots of options--plenty of channels--but they all look and feel the same.
And, finally, I return to the current practice of finding a place to stand in the space between all these thoughts.
I ate the tuna salad, the bread and a tangerine I noticed on top of the frig as I detached from thinking.
It's as simple as that.