I avoided them when I went into the Dollar General today. I saw them coming out, and being a social person, I had every reason to talk to them, but I couldn't. I couldn't handle the way they are living their life. I find that after the adversities of the past year and a half--where I left my husband after eighteen years of marriage and started with nothing--leaves me with little patience with people. The friend who has reckless sex with three men a week--the co-workers who cause unnecessary drama--anything other than true and genuine gets left alone. So why do I ignore this couple I know--friendly and at the time my next-door neighbors when I moved into my little grey double wide on the corner of Short Cut and Lizana School Road?
Because they won't get food stamps. They won't bother. They won't even go to the office. "He makes too much money one week and not enough the next." They have yard sales to "buy milk and bread." They've even gone with me to buy food with me. I have enough food stamps to cover ourselves and occasionally, if I know someone is hard up, I'll spend $25 or $30 of my foodstamps helping them... or I used to. No more.
After months of not seeing said couple, I went over to their house because my son wanted to play with her daughter. Friend has various maladies and so does the daughter--mysterious fainting spells. "The school says she's not getting enough to eat." Know what's for lunch? Six to eight link sausages. "She eats more than anyone in this house." says her very dedicated but visibly obese mom.
I ask her again about food stamps. "We're not elligible."
"That's not possible. I qualify. I make very little, and I qualify. And I don't understand that if you aren't making $2016 a month, why you don't qualify."
She explains to me that she just can't go back into that building again.
I have an IQ over 150. I have an honors degree in English Literature (Creative non-fiction track) with a minor in history and education and I wound up broke and nearly homeless after I left my abusive ex-husband. I had to leave behind a $1,000 a week offer because of the situation he put us in; ensconced in an apartment for which he had written bad checks--in my name. I am a good writer, with tons of experience. And yet here I am--situation, circumstances, location... in extremely rural South Mississippi with little hope of finding work in my field. Somehow, I'm piecing it all back together. In the meantime, I take food stamps and although I'm not very proud of it, I don't apologize.
To let your child do without--to hold garage sales to "afford milk and bread" because you just "can't face the food stamps office" is inexcusable in my sight. Seven or eight link sausages for lunch is not a meal. Trading babysitting for a Mountain Dew and a candy bar is not an even exchange. And yes, you didn't have ANY problem getting a few items when I was with you at Wal-Mart last year.
I have no patience for those who won't ask for help when they can receive it. Especially those who are paying Rent-A-Center $100 a month for a laptop. A laptop that will cost them $2,100 when it is all said and done but won't go see about the assistance that their taxes go to support.
I have finished with the friendship. I have no patience with it anymore. I have swallowed my pride--crying for a half hour when I realized that I would have to buy groceries vis a vis the state--and come out holding my head high because my son and I have enough. You should go through the trouble to get your child enough, too. Pride be damned.