Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yeah, it's a little warm

"Don't melt," my best friend warned me on Sunday. Sunday, which was about 10 degrees cooler and, when the humidity was under 50% still.
Yesterday was pretty warm, I will say that. The temperature gage in the car said it was 103 at one point (but I'm pretty sure it didn't really get above 95 ambient temp). So, I wore light clothing, cotton undies, and sunscreen. I, for one, was fine with the heat (still am, we're in Day 2 of the Extreme Heat Advisory), but I've noticed a few people aren't.
But that's just how things are in this area. If it's raining, some not-insignificant portion of the population is whining about the rain. If it's cold, some portion is whining about the cold, and the anchors on the news are asking the weather man when it's gonna warm up. If it's overcast and 65 degrees, some portion is whining about there not being enough sun. If it's sunny and warm, some segment is whining about how it's too hot or too bright or too... humid. Because in Seattle, most people can't tell the difference between humidity and sweating.
I've figured out why this is: Seattle is full of people who always need something to complain about, and the weather is a perfect topic because you can't do a damn thing about it except either enjoy it or whine about it. (Personally, I'm more interested in complaining about the complainers than this gorgeous weather!) So, it's the same people who keep saying "it's too hot" or "it's too cold" or "I hate the rain", wah wah wah. The SAME PEOPLE! All the do is whine. And you know, I can't handle it, Seattle! Grow up! If you don't like the fact that we have seasons here, move somewhere that doesn't like California or the Yukon Territories!
Anyway, this so-called Heat Wave (and as much as people on the East Coast or in the Midwest or especially the South will tell us that we're whiny pussies for thinking that four days of 90+ degree heat and 50%+ humidity, it is unusual for the area), is actually quite pleasant for us sun worshippers who really only live here because this is where our families settled down. Of course, once it's over, we're gonna whine, wondering where the sun has gone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why do poor people get to have things?

I encounter this argument constantly when discussing social issues. Some right wing asshole will whine about how a woman using food stamps to buy her groceries is clacking away on her Blackberry with her recently manicured nails. "I can't afford that $400 phone, so how can someone on state assistance afford it? Shouldn't they be putting that money into their grocery bill?"
Or -- and this one is my favorite, I encountered it while I was in college full time, working two jobs, and receiving food stamps so that I could pay my rent and feed myself -- "do you have a cell phone? internet? cable? Surely you could use the money for that on food instead of using my tax money".
People who have never been poor don't understand one basic aspect of being fucking poor: you get really good at getting shit for free. Using my own example, I had a cell phone and internet access, yes, my parents paid for my phone, and I was using free dial-up from a service that offered dial-up to people for free without any sort of registration. I made plenty of sacrifices (this was in 2006 people! I was still using dial-up until 2007!), and actually wasn't spending money on these things.
And of course, the woman with the newly manicured nails and "expensive" cell phone (this example I heard on a radio show once), probably got the phone for free when she signed up for the cell phone plan, and there are other ways to pay for a manicure than with money. Maybe she had a girlfriend who worked in a nail salon and offered her a trade. Maybe she worked in a nail salon making minimum wage and one of the perks of her job (a perk that didn't do anything to feed her children) was free manicures.
People who have never been poor make a lot of assumptions about people who are poor. A lot of them. Chief among those is that poor people aren't allowed to have nice things. Ever. It doesn't matter where it came from (a gift from a parent or relative? free gift with purchase? it's actually one of the shittiest phones offered by the company she signed up with?), poor people aren't allowed to have nice things. They should sell those things and use that money to feed themselves. Except that there aren't a whole hell of a lot of things that you can do without phone or internet access (or a car if you live in a 'burbs), but still you hear the whining "why are poor people allowed to have things?"
It's actually really annoying to have someone who has no clue about your circumstances try to lecture you on what your priorities should be. My income is pretty minimal right now, but I have to have a phone so that I can keep in contact with my customers. I have to have internet access so that I can maintain my business. It's not right to make assumptions about someone circumstances when the only real qualification you have to lecture someone on priorities is having a little bit more disposable income.