Wednesday, October 12, 2011

i am the 32 percent?

In writing and in life, I’m mostly about specificity. But I’m inclined to forgive the Occupy [fill in the blank] protesters for their so-called lack of specific demands. Partly because AK (who is usually very pragmatic when it comes to politics) is smitten by them and I’m easily influenced. Partly because, when you want the world to change fundamentally, like at its core, it’s hard to boil such a paradigm shift down to a checklist. Partly because there are specific demands: Hold banks accountable for ruining the economy. Tax the rich.

Over the weekend, I watched a lovely, ragtag group of protesters make their way down C Street in San Diego, a military town with a wonderful literary/activist niche of which my City Works editors are kick-ass leaders. As I contemplated missing my train to join their ranks (I didn’t; shocking, I know), I wondered whether I could rightfully call myself part of the 99 percent. I mean, there’s a 99 percent chance I am. But one of the great things about this alleged class war is that it includes people from multiple classes. Take these ladies:

I have a history of being hyperaware of my own privilege, and of making everything about me. So instead of taking to the streets, I made a mental list:

Evidence I’m in the 99 percent:
  • I went to public schools up until grad school, and I have a five-digit student loan to show for that.
  • My family rarely went out to eat, went to the movies, flew anywhere or stayed in hotels.
  • I drive a 14-year-old car.
  • I’ve gotten four pedicures in my life.
  • I buy most of my clothes in thrift stores and sale racks.
  • My last three apartments had bars on the windows.
  • I’ve worked since I was 14 years old.
Evidence I’m in the 1 percent:
  • Those public schools were in an affluent suburb, and my parents paid for my undergrad degree.
  • My family owned a VCR and camcorder before anyone else we knew and we took several vacations each year.
  • Even though we never had a new car, we had five old ones.
  • When the investments that made us poor in the ‘90s finally paid off, my dad set aside some money for my sister and I, to be used at a later date. It is, technically, um, a trust fund.
  • I’ve never been involuntarily unemployed for more than a few weeks at a time.
So I guess that lands me in, what, the 32 percent? Or maybe just this group:


Raardvarks said...

I hope you can see this!

It's ok, I'm pretty sure I'm in the one percent, even though I'm floundering on my own right now.

Cheryl said...

Ha! Excellent....