Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tales from the land of the odd

Here’s some examples of the kind of craziness currently running around where I am:

On Friday I bought toilet paper at the store. This is a regular occurrence, as you might imagine. I have not yet gotten to the point where I can nix the toilet paper. Last year at this time the brand of toilet paper I buy was $0.98 for a package of six rolls. Over the past year the price has gradually climbed to $1.27 for the same package. But now something else has changed. They have thinned the paper itself dramatically –to the point where it now takes a handful to equal one or two sheets of the old stuff. It is now the crappiest toilet paper I have ever seen. (Bad pun intended.)

Second incident. I was fired from one of my odd jobs doing yard work a few weeks back. This work was for an old-school aristocratic woman who was basically the boss from hell. I only kept working for her as long as I did because I needed the money. She only had one real complaint (aside from the fact that sometimes when she called me, the phone went to voicemail because, gasp, I was unable to answer the phone): I did not have all the leaves raked and bagged before Thanksgiving. She wants someone who can work on a tighter schedule than that. Well, that is fine. I understand. Except for one thing: The vast majority of her leaves did not even come down until the week right before Christmas! All the leaves around here were late to fall this year, but apparently nature is supposed to work on her schedule too. ;-)

Final incident. Last week I attended a talk by the head of the local food bank. His talk was on the increasing need for food donations and so on. (By the way, before the economy started tanking they all ready serviced nearly 10% of the area’s population. That number has increased dramatically.) A good portion of his talk was concerned with the intense desire of the food bank to start handing out healthier food because most of what they get is junk food. He put out a call for people to donate healthy food. After the talk, I asked him about the possibility of some of the gardeners in the area (myself included) donating fresh, excess produce next year). He refused point blank because ‘it is too hard to distribute’. They welcome produce, but only of the canned or frozen variety (store bought of course). How is this helping the people? More and more people are going hungry and the industrial food system is breaking down. And yet this madness persists.

4 Comments:

Anonymous freeacre said...

Your story of the lady who wanted a slave for her lawn work is typical to my history of my son being hired out for lawn work when he was a kid. I remember a yuppie couple who wanted him to clean out their garage because they were afraid to do it themselves because of possible hunta virus. So, they wanted MY 14 YEAR OLD SON to do it with no protective gear or anything! They are lucky I didn't burn down their fucking garage. Other people were more than nice and generous. It just gives you a good picture of how people act when basically no one is looking. Domestic slavery is on a big upswing. I've read that you can purchase a girl in Haiti for $300 to live in NYC or somewhere and be stuck working for next to nothing and living at the pleasure of these contemporary slave masters. I am always just amazed that they seem to get away with it. All these marginal workers could actually take these people out so easily with some well-placed torches. The arrogant rich really live at the pleasure of the kinder, more patient and compassionate poor.
I'm going to donate some home grown eggs to the Community Kitchen today. I'm thinking of including a seed packet in each carton of eggs. Maybe somebody will get the message. The food banks are starting to bug me because of the standard procedure where the well-heeled hand out the food to the poor. Why don't the recipients organize and hand out the food to each other? That would be much more empowering and have more dignity I would think.

1/19/2009 12:24 PM  
OpenID gritandgristle said...

I've just re-discovered your blog, I'm not sure where I happened upon it originally, and I'm resonating with many of your thoughts. My husband is originally from Birmingham, and we are wannabe farmers living in Oregon. We have a constant debate about attempting farming in AL or here in OR.

Anyhow, I find it intriguing that the local food bank is refusing fresh food. Our local food bank encourages a "grow a row" program where local gardeners grow a little extra to donate. I wonder if the director would be willing to work with community members who are willing to stage the distribution as well? I realize you may not be able to undertake this yourself, but I would be intrigued to see community members with extra produce distributing it themselves (perhaps setting up a convenient location and spreading the word around town that free food is available there on a specific date/time), and I wonder how long it would take the food bank to catch on? Thanks for these recent thoughts.

1/19/2009 1:44 PM  
Blogger SoapBoxTech said...

This kind of thing is, indeed, bothersome and runs rampant in our wonderful society. Picture the amount of banquets that take place every day across our continent. Now think about what happens to the leftovers from each of those banquets.

One of my best friend's got married a few years back and the catering was all fantastic Ukrainian food. But I saw how much food went uneaten (dumpsterized) at all 3 of the catered gatherings...and each time I left the hall to see a homeless fellow sleeping under the heating duct outside the CHURCH hall. I thought it would be so nice if there was some place that the excess food could be taken, to provide sustenance to the poor that very night. And then I pondered just how few people would be willing to make the little extra effort to get that food to such a place. I know a few here and there would be willing but I know I would be disgusted to know just how few.

Gosh I hope this "new human consciousness" comes fast...

Peace to you, RAS, and to all.

1/19/2009 7:21 PM  
Blogger SoapBoxTech said...

Oh, I also wanted to say that while I have to admit I do not price-watch as I should, I DID notice that the last purchase of my typical toilet paper brand was of far inferior quality as well.

*sigh*

We'll all be back to shit-rags soon.

1/19/2009 7:28 PM  

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