What's "poor"?
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15-08-2012, 12:01 PM
What's "poor"?
You know these moments, when you are just walking around on your own and suddenly random thoughts about your life come to your mind. Situations that didn't mean much to you at the time but now they kind of do and you start analysing them...

I want to tell you one of these random situations and my random thoughts about it and maybe you guys wanna join in:

This was when I was still at school. I was 14 years old and our class had a long trip planned. Our teacher had booked the class into a youth hostel for 4 nights, a few hours away from home at a nice, well known lake in Germany.
At the time my family did not have a lot of money but my mother still wanted me to join my class for this trip so she asked the PTA if it would be possible that they sponsor this trip for me. The PTA looked into the case and aggreed, they paid the basics which was the drive there and they youthhostel.
My teacher told me the outcome and also told me that I am not supposed to tell my class mates about it because they might mock me or whatever. So I didn't tell anyone, I was just happy that I could come.
The mother of one of my classmates was in the PTA though, so this class mate knew about it. I was not friends with her, I didn't hate her either. She was one of the kind of people that I would just not like to hang around with because she was pretty superficial. Upper middle class, not able to talk "normal", nose 2 meters above her head... and I was a weird teeny so we were simply not of the same mind set, no reason to hang out.

But shortly before the trip, after the teacher made some announcements she came to me and this conversation happened (she was not mocking, just curious):
She: "My mother told me that the PTA is paying this for you."
Me: "Yes, they are."
She: "Why? Can't you afford it?"
Me: "We don't have a lot of money."
She: "Oh, I never met a poor person before!"
Me: "We are not poor."
She shrugged, I shrugged, conversation was over.

At the time "poor" didn't have a material meaning to me.
When someone would say that someone else was poor, the picture in my head was immigrants who don't know the language, can't communicate, have no real place to live. Or a picture of a person that was disabled (poor person, can't walk) or a person that was of low intelligence. Money or belongings were just a side effect for me, so I did not feel I was poor. We didn't have money, we didn't buy new things or go on vacation, the only time for new things was birthday and christmas.

Over the years, the meaning changed for me. Things that are important to live (food, housing, clothing) are something that you need, and if you don't have them, or not even the bare minimum, I think that is when you are poor. So nowadays I think we were poor. Sometimes we didn't have enough food, sometimes we had to wait for a long time to get a new pair of jeans when one broke, etc. We were 4 people and owned exactly one bed > The bed was mine, my mother slept on the old and worn out sofa that we got from someone, my brothers had matresses on the floor.

I am not only analysing what this word means to me, remember I was 14 at the time. That girl was about my age and obviously already with a very materialistic mindset. You need a lot of things and money so you are not poor... I don't blame her for this mindset because that is a case of upbringing and education from home.

What do you guys think about that situation and about "poor" in general?
I am very interested!

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15-08-2012, 12:53 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
My mum and dad both had good jobs until I was about 6-7ish and then they my dad quit over his health and my mum quit her job to look after him.

We allways had the very basics but I used to get vouchers to buy new clothes every year and they could only be spent in certain shops. I never used to like any of the clothes on offer but had to pick, it was the same with my spectacles (I got my first pair of Nike trainers at 15)

I could afford to go on the smaller outings but on the abroad school trips I never went.

It taught me early on about the value of money though..... when my brother bought me a scalextrix for christmas I knew the value was 2 weeks of his apprentice wage.... I knew that for 2 weeks he had to go without and save the money and that made the present more precious.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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15-08-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
I aggree very much on that, you learn to appreciate gifts a lot more when you don't have a lot of money or even not enough. Because, yes, the good will counts, and the feelings and the meaning of the gift but if you actually measure the value of the gift with "for this money we could eat for two weeks!" that is a whole different level of wow-feeling.
And I feel I really know how to use money in a good manner. I always try to not buy stuff that is not needed although I like to, sometimes, and I like to enjoy that I am not poor anymore as it was a hard way to this point.

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15-08-2012, 01:18 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
Comparison is at the root of all unhappiness.
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15-08-2012, 02:22 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
I have been rich and poor and everything in between. I have travelled staying in 5 star hotels and eating at 5 star restaurants, and I have travelled sleeping in caves and under bridges and eating handfuls of not completely cured raisins because some nice soul gave me a huge bag. (they were damn good by the way)

It's not about the money, it's about how you spend the time. If you ask me which times I liked better - I couldn't tell you. There are always things that annoy you, things that please you, things you appreciate and so on and so on. Whether you are sleeping under a bridge or in a 5 star hotel has nothing to do with it.

What does have something to do with it as you grow older is security. When you are young you are immortal. Later in life you realize that you will likely end up frail and old and you want security - financial and otherwise. When you can't achieve that before you get ready to enter old age - that's when you are poor.

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15-08-2012, 02:43 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
When I was Canvass manager at Staybrite Windows I was on the best wage I have ever had..... towards the end of my time there I had built up enough canvassing teams and had my percentages of commission from work trickling in id take home £1000 a week.

Id be different with that sort of money now but 8 years ago when I was 22/23 the money was easily blown on material bullshit....... being a generous person I also spent a lot of money on friends and family buying them material bullshit Tongue

I hated the job at the end though...... it was full of robbing backstabbers (nearly all sales has a degree of deception) and when I got home I sometimes couldnt switch my head off from work. So when I quit I became a lot happier and now my job.... although only minimum wage, has no stresses and ss physicaly demanding..... which means getting home and having a shower means I can unwind and enjoy life a bit better Smile

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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15-08-2012, 02:56 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
I am poor now but in comparison to a 3rd world country I would be rich. I am losing my Ins and will become homeless. I wont be able to keep my computer on line. I guess i could go to someones house to say hi every once in a awhile. Ohio is cutting my ins and their is nothing I can do about it. I wont be able to get my meds or see my Dr. I just wont be able to afford it. I will lose all my pain meds too so I will have to break the law and do what ever i need to do to get out of pain. I hate the thought of that. I was promised I would have Ins till the day i died. What a joke. The Tea Party and extreme right wing has taken over this nation. I am just dog shit on the shoe of the rich.

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a
free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their
political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their
own purpose. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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15-08-2012, 03:02 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
Well you can't compare yourself to a third world country citizen.
There is a different way of surviving everywhere.
While in a so called western country people starve to death because they are 4 people living of 400 euro (unemployed couple with kids), they would survive with that kind of money just fine in an eastern european country.
That is why my hubby and I are moving back to Romania, so we don't have to be poor or "just fine".

though N.E.OhioAtheist you sound really desperate and I wonder if there is really no way out of this situation....

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15-08-2012, 04:29 PM
RE: What's "poor"?
N.E. OHIO - are you sure there is nothing you can do? Or have you just resigned yourself?

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15-08-2012, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 15-08-2012 07:42 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: What's "poor"?
(15-08-2012 02:56 PM)N.E.OhioAtheist Wrote:  I am poor now but in comparison to a 3rd world country I would be rich. I am losing my Ins and will become homeless. I wont be able to keep my computer on line. I guess i could go to someones house to say hi every once in a awhile. Ohio is cutting my ins and their is nothing I can do about it. I wont be able to get my meds or see my Dr. I just wont be able to afford it. I will lose all my pain meds too so I will have to break the law and do what ever i need to do to get out of pain. I hate the thought of that. I was promised I would have Ins till the day i died. What a joke. The Tea Party and extreme right wing has taken over this nation. I am just dog shit on the shoe of the rich.

Move to Maryland. We're close to Ohio and we like to recycle dog shit into useful fertilizer instead of just flushing it. And regardless of which way the Federal Government winds blow, we take care of our own. Even if it means raising taxes on those who can most afford it, which we just did. We have the highest income per capita in the country and among the most educated. We will never throw our poor under the bus. The rich will pay to take care of the poor or they will leave and we didn't want them here anyway. The Tea Party has no fucking prayer in Maryland.

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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