I tried to load 40 dollars onto my bus pass yesterday and my credit card was declined. Part of this is my fault for too much Amazon Prime and too much DoorDash; part of it has to do with living in one of the most expensive cities in the world where most people are living month to month in basement suites with one or two roommates just to make ends meet; part of it has to do with wider systemic factors like a government that provides few meaningful avenues of support to young people looking to fund their entirely-necessary-for-survival post secondary education, which means a whole slew of the population living deep in student debt and being compensated inadequately for their investment.
I can’t buy groceries right now, which means I will boil udon noodles and fry them with soya sauce and garlic or, when the soya sauce runs out and when the tiny packets of soya sauce (from Door Dash) run out, I will use garlic and lemon concentrate. If I eat canned peas and rice and it turns out in one rubbery mass like something off the bottom of a tire, I will eat it, because only eating food that tastes good is a luxury. In a few weeks I’ll have that luxury again, but for now I’m bone dry.
This morning in the newspaper there was a story about a woman from Newfoundland with stage four breast cancer who won 1.5 million dollars in the lottery and died a month later. Instead of thinking to myself about how I could solve all my problems with just a little windfall or just a tiny unexpected cash infusion from a distant unknown deceased great great uncle in Estonia, I decided I loved my problems.
I mean, I don’t love wondering if my credit card will be declined in a fancy restaurant on mother’s day, and I don’t love the thought of a fifty thousand dollar student loan burning a hole through my credit score, and I hate being terrified all the time that one of my geriatric pets is going to get sick and I will have to borrow yet more money from family members or the bank, and I don’t love taking the bus in the rain (especially on those days when it’s sunny when I leave the house and my badly-lacking-in-forethought-brain can’t even conceive of the fact that it will ever rain again let alone that it will rain later that very day, and I end up walking home in the rain like a wet dog). And I hate how guilty I feel every time I buy a book- sometimes I wake up in th middle of the night and furiously try to stop the green vertical Amazon Prime line from changing from about to ship to on its way, and I hate that sometimes when I go to weddings I can’t afford a gift and have to hope there are enough gifts on the table that nobody notices. I hate so much about not having enough money but I love my problems because they are the kinds of problems that money CAN fix. At least in theory. My problems are not life or death and they are not unsolvable, in other words, they are not stage four breast cancer. And even if I never win the lottery, or never make enough money to buy a house, or never even make enough money to pay off my student loan, with the kind of problems I have, the possibility always remains that a solution is possible. Which means I never have to live without hope. I’m pretty damn grateful for my problems.