Sometimes I like to walk around the pond in the wealthy part of town and pretend that I’m a rich person. I don’t really know what it’s like to be a rich person, so this makes my imaginings even better. I don’t have to include all the drama that I assume comes with wealth. I just get to Scrooge McDuck into my arena-sized room full of gold coins.
Glamorous, I know.
As I walk, I notice there are a lot of other people like me. Those who don’t live in the houses whose backyards surround this beautiful body of water.
The pond is of the man-made variety. The kids and I call this one Storm Ponds. We call it this because I misread the information plaque upon first learning of the place. Instead of seeing that it was a storm pond used to store overflow water during the rainy season, I thought the name of the area was literally Storm Ponds.
It’s actually called Chinook Ponds.
The spot is beautiful. There’s a wide walking path surrounding the water, cattails sprout up along the outer banks, and there’s even a tiny inlet island with a gazebo where one might go for a picnic.
I’ve never gone for a picnic there, but someone might, I guess. I don’t have time for that shit, man. I’m juggling four jobs.
The houses that surround the pond and path are mansions. There’s this deep chocolate brown one that has three separate patios jutting out from the back of it. One of the patios is ground level and has, predictably, a hot tub with a built-in towel room.
The next deck level is off their living room, with enormous tropical plants propped up in the floor-to-ceiling windows. The last deck, the most intriguing, is on the top floor, which is smaller than the rest. I assume it must be the master bedroom.
Can you imagine having a deck right off your master bedroom? Sounds amaze.
I’d be out there buck ass nakey every morning, sun tanning my butthole because that’s supposed to be really healthy for a person, and then I’d use the space for writing, and my life would basically be perfect.
I know how this sounds. Anyone who has money will shake their head at my words, saying, “It’s not all great, sister, I can tell you that much. Money isn’t everything.” Because they will be thinking about their shitty relationships and the fact that their 13-year-old dog still died from cancer despite the thousands of dollars they spent on vet bills.
Those people will swear up and down that money doesn’t buy happiness. They’ll say that they would give up their material assets tomorrow if only it would bring their family closer together. If only it would bring Lassie or Brutus or whatever their dog’s name was back to life. Like some freaky-ass dog zombie.
And to that, I say, bullshit.
If you’ve never had the experience of having exactly twelve dollars in available funds in your bank account to feed your family dinner with, then, I’m sorry, please don’t tell me that money isn’t that big of a deal. Money, if you have it, is nothing but a passing fancy.
If you don’t have it, money is the driving force for your very existence. One rusty link in your carefully curated life chain could cause your entire existence to crumble around you.
Here are a few examples of when having some extra cash in the bank account would have been handy:
- That time I was marooned on Vancouver Island with an abusive boyfriend and had no money to get a ferry & bus ticket home. This also comes down to poor judgment because I was 16 and sporting an undeveloped brain, but these things still happen every day. Why do you think so many abusive spouses don’t like their wives/husbands working? Spoiler: It’s so they can control all the finances. It is challenging to start a new life with zero dollars in your bank account.
- That time I almost killed a fellow KFC employee with the stench of my explosive diarrhea. Let me break it down for you in point form: Our toilet broke. Didn’t have the money to get it fixed until the following payday. I was using the staff bathrooms at the chicken factory as my own personal fecal palace. OK. Fecal palace is a weird term to use. You know what I mean. I had eaten something unfortunate (I was consuming a lot of grease at the time. I was working at a fried chicken joint, after all). I destroyed the staff bathroom. I watched as a fellow employee went in 3.4 seconds after I exited. I watched him turn around immediately, face green, and gasping for air, asking, “WTF happened in there?!” If only I had had the money to fix my own fecal palace, there’s no way I would have nearly killed poor Llyod with my unfortunate stench in the KFC toilets!
- That time the dentist made me cry in front of the entire waiting room upon learning that I couldn’t afford dental insurance for my children. “What kind of a mother are you?” Yep.
- That time my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a weekend away (basically in the next town over — let’s not go overboard here), but when we got back home, we found that our fridge had shit the bed. We had to use camping coolers and a mini-fridge to feed our family of four until the following payday when we could afford to purchase a new fridge.
These are just a few of the times a bit of extra “what-if” money could have come in handy.
Look, I’ve already been called privileged once this week, so before you get all up in my grill about these situations not being that bad, I’m going to come right out and say I know. I agree. They aren’t, overall, devastating. I have a home, my kids are fed, and I can drink the occasional glass of wine when I feel sad. I have luxuries at hand that so many don’t, and I’m eternally thankful for that.
However, I’m not going to deny that living without a savings account or any sort of backup funds isn’t scary AF.
And I’m not going to sugarcoat how difficult it is when people immediately begin to look at you differently when they realize that at almost 40 years old, you are still living paycheck to paycheck.
I’m certainly not going to tell you that living with looming debt over our heads because of a misinformed business venture doesn’t eat away at me every dang day. Chipping away at consolidated debt repayment is like panning for gold from a stream gone dry. You’re doing it for the idea of “one day,” but at the moment, it’s all looking pretty god damn grim.
Money doesn’t buy people happiness, but it does an excellent job of purchasing some high-grade security.
These houses are big and beautiful. The lawns are perfectly manicured, and the pond that’s mere feet away is filled with Canadian Geese. A woman jogging nods curtly as she glides past me. She isn’t looking at the houses — she must live in this community. You see, that’s the tell. That’s the thing that lets me know if my fellow walkers are residents of this place or mere interlopers looking to pretend to be someone else for a short while.
No one who lived in this place would gawk at these houses the way I do. My peering, my staring into a life that will never be, confirms my status.
As if the geese have made this critical analysis at the exact same moment I have, I am startled out of my reverie by the sound of loud honking. Multiple honks. Flapping wings. All coming in my direction.
Oh, for the love ketchup chips, not the Canadian Geese!
This is the downside of Storm Ponds. The geese think they own the place. Even though there is such opulence behind the fences of these homes, the geese tend to be a cruel reminder that no one is all that special if they dare to walk the goose path.
Often the footpath is littered with goose shit. Long grayish-white turds sully the cement and green spaces in the park. The geese feel free to roam as they please, and there has been more than one occasion that I’ve had to take a 10-minute detour to avoid the significant goose gangs as they sprawl on sun-heated sidewalks.
I’ve learned in the past that it is not wise to try to skirt around the beasts. They are highly territorial. And although the rich people in Storm Ponds don’t care about me gazing in at their homes with wonder, the geese sure fucking do.
This is to say, there has been many a goose chase. I finally understand the game Duck, Duck, Goose. It would only be a goose that would get so heated by being plunked on the head by a tiny child’s hand. And that’s precisely why it’s the goose that gives chase.
So, there it is, distracted for only a few seconds by the large houses, and now, regrettably, a gander of geese is hurtling towards me. I’m praying to all the gods in all the lands that I can make it back to my 2006 Jeep Cherokee — the one my mom gifted me for free when our truck died last fall (which was, unfortunately, right around the same time as the fridge) before I’m accosted.
The great gasping honks of these birds gain as I fumble with my keys upon approaching the car. I then realize that the automatic unlock button doesn’t work. So instead, I huddle low by the driver’s side door, hoping to evade their deadly battle cries.
Luckily, the geese are not out for blood — today at least.
I get into my jeep and notice the jogging woman now running at full speed on the path. Her legs pump wildly as she turns her head to view her attackers. The geese are gaining. I see she is headed towards a far-off gate leading to a home not much smaller than the one with three balconies.
I start my car and honk the horn, hoping to distract our feathered foes for just a little while so she can make her escape successfully. As I’m blaring on the buzzer, it occurs to me that quite possibly the only thing that Canadian Geese are good for is their ability to not discriminate when choosing their victims.
I see the woman dash through her gate, not stopping to close it behind her. Before I know it, she is locked up in her own hot tub towel room off her own first-floor patio, as the geese mill nonchalantly about in her yard.
I figure she can take it from there; she’s probably got some kind of fancy bottled water to sustain her for a little longer while at least.
This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.
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The post How I Learned Geese Don’t Discriminate When Choosing Their Victims appeared first on The Good Men Project.