Sunday, September 11, 2005

Walk A Mile and A Yard Sale

Our local NPR station ran a story today on the Walk a Mile program. The idea is that a local policy maker (in this case, it was a State legislator---my Representative, in fact) pairs up with a low income citizen and each walks through the other's life for a day.

I listened to the whole audio field trip. A single mother of three children (all preschool age!) takes her first trip to the State Capitol. She took the tour, had the photo ops, blah blah blah. The only part worth recounting was when he tried to register her to vote. The Representative made the assumption that she wasn't registered, but the woman spoke right up, "Oh, I'm registered, sir. I voted for you!". He chuckled so uncomfortably that I felt it through the radio.

When the Representative's day came to live his partner's life, she took him to the local DHS office to apply for food stamps. She had to take all three of her girls, they waited an hour to get the right paperwork, took another hour to fill it out, and an hour to see a caseworker. After those three hours, she discovered that she made $100 a month too little to get $45 worth of food stamps. If she chose to go back to school, she would be eligible to send her children to day care with a $215 a month copay.

In the end, I know her life could be worse. She works from her home as a seamstress now and within a few years, her children will be in school and child care would run her much less. Perhaps she could get a few more customers and make a few more dresses to come out better every month, but I wonder now how many hours she already spends sewing everyday. The whole program left me with more questions than outrage.

In other news, I spent the evening helping my parents prepare for a yard sale. Over twenty years of crap will be set up in their yard for visitors to peruse. They needed desperately to do this.

Now help me list potential advertisements--
  • If you pick through this now, we won't have to do it when they die!
  • Come back to the mid eighties, one more time
  • We stockpiled crap with you in mind
  • Two childhoods, billions of crap, piled into one yard


Susan said...

I'll go with 'We stockpiled crap with you in mind.' And balloons always help.

I missed that bit about the state legislator and the single mom. Although I'm not sure I'm sorry I did. Politics in this state rarely leave me anything but annoyed.

I'm off to write about voting FOR the gas tax!

P M Prescott said...

Just think about all the stuff you could not live without and now can't get rid of fast enough. Yard sales are a way of sobering you up on your spending habits.

Jim Jannotti said...

If you can do it in a good conscience, go for number 1! That's terrific.

Although "billions of crap" is quite a nice turn of phrase...

And gosh, some of those word verification thingies are HARD.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

My kids are always thinking about doing garage sales....I always tell them I am not helping...of course I always do. I have come to the conclusion the best sign is "Free Crap" because you might actually get rid of it all.