Friday, May 23

Couldn't if I wanted to

There is a challenge out there, possibly brought to mind while lounging with the library's copy of Adbusters, to live on $1 a day.

This arises from the oft-quoted statistic that approximately 1 Billion individuals (human beings) live on less than $1 per day. That is food, clothing, shelter, water with no room for extras (or basics for that matter). It started me thinking that at this point it would be impossible for me to live such a frugal life. Not one day could pass where I wouldn't even consume more than $1 of material.

Food isn't the problem. Although, with rising food prices that we have been warned about for years, $1 doesn't get what it used to we could conceivably plan meals in advance and buy in bulk to stay within budget.

Transportation could easily be taken over on foot or bicycle (uh, what if it rains??) to save the gas.

I'm not even talking about the money it costs to be using electricity, continually refrigerate food, keep a telephone in service; all things I would likely overlook.

One of the biggest difficulties would be my own mental health. I (or my insurance company when I have one again) spend at least $2 every day on fancy brain chemicals to keep me balanced. These slow release tablets of dubious usefulness carry warnings of severe withdrawals should a taker stop taking. Shakes, brain shocks, dizziness, dry mouth, vertigo, vomiting.....and so on. Well that sounds normal an fun. The point being, I suppose, is that I am a believer in the theory that there exists so much anxiety and depression in our society due to our disconnect from each other (caused in large part by over consumption/working/phone/internet/tv). So basically if we spent less in general to support our lifestyles we would likely be happier and less stressed and would not need the added expense of happy pills (which would be better named "not sad" pills or "apathy" pills, or possibly "stability" pills).

Apparently it is ok to designate $2 per day to my brain chemistry which would double the food available for one six of the world. Something is unsettling.


Beth said...

while i think the challenge to live on a dollar a day is a good idea in theory, and i'm all for living easily and recognizing the extreme poverty that many people live in, i don't think it's realistic in our culture - the one dollar doesn't stretch as far. and the fact that you have access to brain chemicals is a good thing - yes, they should be accessible to more people, but i don't think it needs to be at the expense of food for others...

am i making sense without sounding irate? i hope so.

i am sending you an email forward that is related in my mind...let me know if the connection isn't clear after you get it :)

Beth said...

by living "easily" i meant "simply" - ha.

Katie V. said...

those pictures are so powerful. I had seen them before but I'm glad to have them again. they did fit what I was talking about.

Simply is definitely the right word. I'm always fighting between living with less (consuming/buying less) and my desires for easy life and just material wants.