Saturday, October 21, 2006

Whether it's a coincidence or maybe it's God taking care of me is debatable, though I opt for the latter, but I recently found myself taken care of quite handsomely. I have tried hard to be very generous this Ramadan, not for the resultant financial gains bestowed upon me from above, because it felt very appropriate. Part of Ramadan, after all, is to be thankful for what one has. I came to the realization that I am obscenely wealthy and lucky, through little merit on my part, living as I do in the best neighbourhood in the best city in the best country in the world. The worst thing that can happen in The Annex is a short-term shortage of high-priced coffee. The troubles of even the other parts of the city, much less the world, rarely penetrate.

Filled, even burdened, with the knowledge of just how much I have, it was all I could do to hand out as much coinage as possible, especially on days when my round-the-clock incompetence around the clock meant that I didn't fast. I tried very hard to force myself to give something substantial and respectful (e.g., not 37 cents consisting in pennies and nickels) to everyone. I especially gave to those who looked as though they could get by on their own or to those who did not but looked and acted utterly repulsive. I also tried to treat as human beings, making self-conscious small talk, those who asked. I felt aloof and fraudulent the entire time, full of the sort of rapidly-growing panic before you realize just how badly you've overslept or how badly you botched a test. There are so many people who are so poor and not only is there absolutely nothing I can do for them, but I have the gall to consider it a minor accomplishment to even keep them in my thoughts.

And yet, I didn't at all feel poor when I hit a minor financial crunch that would leave me out of money for a week or two thanks to paying rent. I can't say that I've ever had to feel poor and I've been raised with enough luxury and security to know that, if only for the grace of God, nothing bad ever really happens to me. Still, the rare restrictions on my behaviour weighed on me enough until I came home today to find that the government of Canada, as it tends to do, had sent me money and my credit limit had been doubled. Both are, of course, trivial but I don't think that I'm necessarily forcing the pieces of a puzzle here. There was a fair bit of stress in figuring out how I would manage to eat and keep the double-doubles in my veins, but the only two pieces of mail I received in the last two weeks had more than enough money to negate the issue. Again, it's true that these are little things, but if I can be grateful for the little things, I can be satisfied without the big things.

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