Thursday, December 8, 2016

hunger isn't so bad

I've been trying to keep my food consumption to a minimum, but I keep getting hungry.  Every day.  You get pretty used to it after a while.  I'm certainly not starving.  I had some lentils and rice, yesterday.  Coffee this morning.  That helps.  It's not a great feeling, though..  I go into this detail not for sympathy, but because without specifics, relative statements can be functionally meaningless. To talk about suffering of one sort of another, I think it's important to be clear on what we're discussing.  It isn't just a question of sympathy not to confuse the discomfort of hunger, with famine and starvation.  It's about clarity, and so, to be clear, this is where I'm coming from.  This is the sort of hunger I'm using to launch into discussing something or other.

I've actually forgotten where I was going with this, but it will come to me.  In the meantime, I'm reminded of one of the many facets of the sort of hunger I'm talking about.  It interferes with brain function.  Memory, concentration.. this isn't news, but these sorts of details get left of discussions on poverty, and why it can be such a trap to get out of.  Not all of it is systemic to society, but systemic to nature.  It can undermine functionality in some pretty fundamental ways.

It's complicated, and there are so many factors involved.  Poverty in a town that has a great public school system isn't nearly as bad as poverty in a town with a terrible public school system.  That single factor alone can make a huge difference in the well-being and economic mobility of impoverished children that grow up there.  Now compare towns with ample nutritional benefits to those where the poor can't afford enough food, and live in a food desert.  It's poverty either way, but those can be important distinctions to make.

As for me, I actually have enough on my EBT card for groceries.  Well, sorta, and I haven't always, but in this case, that isn't the problem.  It mostly just reminds me of those times when I literally couldn't afford food for a while.  That really sucked, but I did get used to it.  Some call Winooski a food desert, but that's a bit of a stretch.  It's a small town, a mile square, so it isn't really saying that much, that there isn't a single grocery store within the town itself.  It's just a pain to walk the three miles, lugging groceries along the side of a highway.  Not even a goddamn sidewalk, and biking it would be seriously perilous.  Public transit?  Even worse.

It's doable, but I tend to procrastinate for a while.  It doesn't help that I'm borderline agoraphobic as it is, or maybe just pathologically lazy.  It takes me all day, just to get myself moving and then it's dark and everything is closing.  Other people struggle with more straight-forward physical limitations.  Whatever the issue may be, all of it would be so much easier, not if I were wealthier, but if the town I lived in were better designed, with public transit, bike lanes, and commercial zoning access that doesn't assume we can all afford cars.

Sometimes I think to myself that being hungry isn't so bad, as I ration out the last vestiges of food from my cupboards.  I try not to think about how it's bad for my health, mental and physical, or how I can't even think about running, because I honestly can't spare the calories, for the time being.  I can relax though, and I'm otherwise comfortable.  I'm happier not thinking about those things.  Sometimes it sounds odd me.  It's not that bad.  Yeah, I guess.  It still sucks, though.

It's all relative, right?  20% of Winooski is even poorer than I am - Winooski VT Economic Data - you'd think this town would be better designed for it, but that's rarely how it works.  Generally, the poor can't afford to live in places that are designed to accommodate poverty.

No comments: