There must be effort into change and a consciousness that one is making an extreme change in one’s content and context.
I read a lot of answers and was thinking about this in relation to a pet peeve I have.
1. Patience. I travel twice a month as part of work projects and I stay at two different hotels but the same ones pretty much twice a month. Because the projects have been ongoing and will be ongoing for a couple more years I’ve been able to bounce around to hotels and figure out which is the best for my expenditure budget in terms of comfort, space, safety, convenience. One of the hotels I stay at has some sort of contract with the City so it accepts lower income people who are going through issues. It’s about $2000 a month for a single room. I’m in and out twice a day—-to the project and then to go exercise when weather permits with a 4– 5-mile power walk.
I have noticed this on elevators from when I’m in this concentrated environment with more people of poverty, visibly and when I’m in Manhattan at skyscrapers. Patience. I watch adults and their children press the call button, frantically over and over and over. There are two elevators, it’s not a particularly crowded place weekdays but even on the elevator I see people get on, the less prosperous—-there’s a visible difference between those of us there for work or vacation and frantically continue to press their floor buttons as the elevator is moving, after another passenger has boarded. They’re near frantic and often on their cell phones texting and scrolling and rushing for more stimuli, answers, information, speed, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, I have to get to…the vending machine.
So a few months ago I started really watching this trend, seeing if it was just a human thing that some of us do and some of us don’t but sure enough I was seeing this impatience. A lot of my poorer students have this which leads to the next point.
2. Time Perception. I wandered into CVS and one of the associates greeted me, he’s seen me often from the office building area and recently after a year of going there and a longer discussion with several of the other associates, I told them my name and they looked me up online and now they greet me as soon as I come with whatever you call it when you’re smart and people announce it when you walk in—-it’s been happening since I was a child, sometimes positively, sometimes not, I don’t know what it is, it does no ego aggrandizement but people do it. I ask how he’s doing and he asks, demands an answer from me about how he can change his life. He asks how he can get out of the ghetto he lives in, he, like most people—-this goes to Point 3, expresses disdain at his work. My goal was lemonade but okay, here I am and as a young Black man, in the circumstances he’s expressing he has less access to someone like me, regardless of my race but particularly of my race so if possible, and since I see him at least weekly, I try to start laying some inceptions infections of change (I’d been thinking for the past couple of months of some materials to give the staff about financial management—-its a delicate thing so I’ve been gently strengthening my personal connections to them identifying them by name without looking at their badges, being convivial, congenial, etc.)
One of the things I point out is that he’s about 25. There was a study that children born after 2000 have a mortality lifespan of 125 years because of the advancements in medical technology so I said to him that’s your first place to start. Drugs, drinking, unsafe sex—-you have to stay on the right sides of those, be in control of those. Then food intake, try to reasonably exercise. This will give you more healthy time. He wanted Point 4 but we went back and forth with him asking me what was the lifespan expectancy of Black men and I was like well, it’s shifted. An actuary, I explained what that was, would approximate at least 78 years but that’s longer one, for his generation and two, if you manage the factors I was mentioning. He thought his life expectancy was about 46 to 50 years old, he didn’t think he’d live any longer than that. I was shocked, I thought we were going to quibble about the 78.
3. Work. I work several jobs/projects because it’s just easier or some of my work overlaps or external laps or school is expensive and there are some work projects that absorb tuition costs, it’s a scene. Anyway. I come into contact with 3 distinct social classes every week—-Poor/Working Class, Middle Class, and Rich/Wealthy. I get to distinctly hear and see how all three experience their work lives, whether separate or integrated. Poor through Middle-Class kvetch, complain, hate, distress, stress, worry and are pretty close to paranoid about other workers, managers, changes, etc.. There’s a sense of almost prison-like fatalism about work rather than an engagement. I don’t mean that they necessarily do the job badly but they language hating the job/work they do. Then there are other Middle Class to Rich people who seem pleased, interested, invested, intense and engaged in the work they do, even when not self-employed or owners of the business. There’s one lawyer who works 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day, his wife often meeting him to leave midday on weekends, getting in at 6am. He teases me about my work hours being wacky and seeing each other in passing and I do the same to him.
4. The Magic Pill.
When I’m teaching often my students want the Magic Pill, no matter their age. My point about the Magic Pill is that its slow acting. A college degree is slow acting. It takes about 10 years to be activated and used but in that 10–14 year period your brain has been changed by education deeply so that you can think far better, more efficiently, broader and deeper than the non-educated. It’s the difference between being able to walk and not being able to walk.
However as I told the CVS associate, change will take time. Your ability though is to figure out what to do with Time. To plan Time and not just have Timepass. When pressed I talk about not watching TV, rarely going to the movies and The Poor to Middle-Class RAGE as if I’m talking about leaving God in a ditch—-what do you do then? They often lack the self-reflection to look at the panacea entertainment is used as so if I say I don’t take the video pills (digital Vicodin) then people can’t understand why I’m voluntarily in “pain”. The pain is the experience of an existence that doesn’t have billions of dollars to distract me., which is Point 5. Nope, haven’t seen Wonder Woman, nor Black Panther, nor Avengers, nor Star Wars——now breathe. Really only a small number of people have seen it. To make $100 million at the box office is only about 10 million people in a weekend. The larger the studio investment, the greater amount of screens it’s shown on. Most movies play on 2000–3000, the above played on 4500+, it would literally have to go black in the middle to not be a financial hit.
Poor to Middle-Class people often talk to and around me about the conspiracy about propaganda but like a brainwashed hooker chatter on about it then tell you to excuse me, they have to go service that biker gang over there. One coworker, whom I have no idea how he’s still alive at 60, scraping along, literally the epitome of Uncle Ruckus rails about his poverty and White influence and subjugation, yet has two cable boxes at home, $250 a month and no pension nor 401k though the company offers it on his $8 after taxes job. He’s stuck. No, really, he looks like Uncle Ruckus…except for the eye and has the same mentality.
5. Either Entertainment or Money is seen as a distraction from reality. I sit on trains and buses and planes, far too many and watch poor people feverishly working on their smartphones and I lean over…and it’s video games and now the new more dullard action, movies/TV shows on phones. Two things I’ve learned from this—invest in phone tech, it is legal drugs and two, it crosses all ages, all races but concentrates in the poor to middle class.
I’m often watching this Impatience, distorted view of Time, Disdain of Work as the first tree and I think about how they mass together to an outcome. Impatience and Time Issues mean you can’t plan. If you can’t stand patiently, sometimes I count, for three seconds, as an elevator door closes without erroneously thinking if YOU press the button the Universe will speed up then how are you going to look at 4 years of investment time to 10 years of educational outcome. It seems very basic, as if I’m pointing out elements of a sneeze to how that gets you to brain cancer but Patience and Time, are required to change an overall situation and I say that as someone deeply invested and aware of both who is constantly pushing myself to do more, thinking that I should be doing more, that when I take a day off have I failed all of my plans. That I should petition to take a few more classes, finances be damned.
Then hating your Work, which I’ve never understood. But then I think I haven’t understood it because I’ve always engaged my work from a happy Middle Class to Rich perspective. So even when it hasn’t been the right hand to the President of the USA or has been some lower skill or no skill job that I’ve taken throughout my entire college career to make ends meet or make sure that school wasn’t interrupted. But the disdain at work I think narrows what you absorb from it, what you give off, who notices you. If I’m pissed at the Concierge desk and you’re looking for a receptionist at $5 more dollars an hour, will you scoop me up or pass me by? People are always watching you. And listening to you. Are they watching you be pissed at your circumstances or putting on your professional face.. and yes, maybe reading tech manuals in the bathroom or taking free online classes on your phone—-you know I’m the only one I’ve ever seen doing that on the train, when I’m not reading a book? Coursera courses are downloadable and transferable to phones—-if I can figure out how to do it, anyone can.
The Magic Pill. I’ve never thought there was a Magic Pill. I have thought with my work and watching it increase in range and value that it will take Patience, Time, Enjoyment of the Work itself and eventually over decades it will manifest as I envision as long as I have critical benchmarks and keep infusing new abilities and ideas into it. Tending the garden.
I have Netflix and Hulu and I lost all reason in my book and on my day off, Monday to Tuesday night, I watched all of Homeland Season 7. I watched it in one day because I have this thing about preferring to see things in a long-range time frame availability like that, rather than wait for an episode a week. I like to see it like a book that I can whizz through in a day. Entertainment in Moderation is fine, refreshing, useful, pushes to new creative boundaries. But here’s how I look at it.
Am I creating as well?
When I watch something, a movie, a film, a TV show, a play, a music concert, a musical, do I then go back to my life and create or do I just pay to see other people create. And if I just pay to see others create, what does that make me?
I write. I try to write a minimum of 25,000 words every couple of days. Really hot years I get up to 10,000,000 a year, the average is about 5,000,000. Some of it good, some published, some online, it’s a mix. Some are just stacked up to be used later. Some are work/teaching related—emails, curriculum, etc..
I’m not just Consuming. I’m also Producing. Something. And amazingly I put it out on market and they keep bringing back revenue 24/7 from all around the world. Hmmm, with a little patience and time…
Uncle Ruckus often pontificates about America the great, racism, capitalism and consumerism in a hodgepodge ball of vitriol, confusion and lower educational perception of things far beyond his capacity to reason through. I asked the CVS associates, several of them, did the company offer them the ability t purchase CVS stock at lower prices because of the AETNA merger. They said yes, but one said, rather condescendingly that he couldn’t think about that because he was paying school loans. He proudly thinks that paying a bill is “having money” or maybe moving money is money. Or what I often find in poor young people when they don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about they flash arrogance rather than the humility of I don’t know or how or what is that?
The deeper juxtapositions of these 5 thought-frames, ways of being are what I think the Rich—-hell, the happier Middle class have to teach Poorer people and the unhappy Middle Class.
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