Danger in Debt

I’m a taker. For sure. I don’t give, I take.  I gave you this blog post, but good luck taking that to the bank.

I’m not proud of taking by any stretch of the imagination. As a child I always wanted to help. I had a toy cleaning kit that I would use around the house, but I’m sure that you couldn’t tell the difference after I had “helped” clean. I would cook dinner when I was a little older and my mom worked late, but she had to give me step-by-step instructions and I set off the smoke alarm about 75% of the time (I usually had it controlled by the time she got home and she never knew).  I would make my brother smoothies daily in high school at 4:00 am before he went to work. I’m not sure how the rest of the house felt about the blender at 4:00 am, but I would guess that they didn’t particularly appreciate my “helpfulness”. My entire life I have been making small gestures to try and be a giver and less of a taker. I had a job, a dream job, where I really helped people, but in the end it wasn’t good for me and I split. I think it’s time that I admit that, as a friend once gently pointed out, those around me take care of me. My brothers protect me, my friends support me and I am not the giver that I hoped to be.

I have this best friend. I call her Big R because I meet a new Katie that I like almost daily. She is a giver. I’ve always known she’s a giver as she been giving to me without question since the day I met her.

When I was debating leaving my job, I had a few people tell me not to until I had something lined up, most people told me to go for it and then there was Katie. Here’s the thing: Katie and I are not the same. Far from it. But dammit she knows me. Her only warning for quitting was “you don’t want to be unemployed during the winter.” Katie was the only person that made me stop and re-think. She, of course, supports my decision fully but knew that I wouldn’t like the cold. This past week (I’m going to go ahead and be self-centered here-no surprise from a blogger) has really sucked for me. I haven’t been able to have nearly as much fun not working because of the snow.

When I called Big R and told her about my trip to India she said “Awesome! I’m so proud of you! Do you have your visa?”

Uh-oh. Google? “Don’t buy a ticket to India until you already have your tourist visa.” Well, I didn’t do that. I’ve never worried about a visa before. Ever. I sure felt like a dumbass American. I just expected that I can go to any country without any permissions and they’ll let me in just because…why? Anyway, like things usually turn out for Americans: it worked out and I got my visa and I’m back in the game!

There is no earthly way to tally up how much Big R has helped me. Material things, yes, she has given me plenty. Far more than I can list. Beyond that, she has never judged and always been a huge support, which has to get hard sometimes. She’s incredibly organized. She has everything in nice little bins and knows where everything belongs. She’s a hawk and knows if something in her home is out of place. I, on the other hand…well…I’m not organized.

I’m always under prepared and I am always losing things (I left my car keys in steamboat this weekend and she saved me). If I were Big R, I would not have patience for my idiocy. Anytime I’m good at something (rare), I take every opportunity to be mean to people who aren’t good at that thing.(Oh! You don’t know how to play Sim City? I bet that’s just because your parents didn’t love you). Big R refuses to point out the difference, she insists that I have the worst luck of anyone she knows.

“I can’t believe you lost ______ (there have been a lot of things that could fill this blank in the past year alone), you have the worst luck!”

After losing the _______ that I really loved (passport, iPhone, keys, bike, credit card, debit card, etc.) it is incredibly helpful to have someone that doesn’t judge and doesn’t tell me that I shouldn’t have lost the thing that is already lost. It’s also really sweet of her to never point out that clearly my cigarette case as a wallet system doesn’t work. It clearly doesn’t work. She’ll never say that, though. She’ll just give me twenty bucks until my new debit card comes in. Giver. Taker. See?

Last week I took from Sonamita (and her husband). Sonamita,which is Spanish for little Sonam, works at WIC still. I’m having a hard time convincing her to quit and join me, but she’s a giver so it probably won’t happen. I don’t posses the vocabulary to explain how cool Sonamita is. Know that we celebrate Happy Wednesday and fun is always had. She is from Nepal and a great resource of information for my upcoming trip. We ate hot Cheetos and watched Life OK TV, which taught us valuable lessons about how when you gamble it leads to killing your own grandmother. It makes sense when you watch the whole show, trust me.

I’ve been taking from my friends. I take their time, I take over conversation with my shit about “finding myself” and my travels. I take their ski gear (Sarah Hayman’s ski helmet saved my life. Fact.) and I take their constant reassurance that I’m not making a huge mistake.

I’m one week and one day from embarking on a two month trip to India and Nepal and there is no way that those countries feel like I’m doing them a favor by visiting. I’m taking from them too. I’m taking their culture, I’m taking advantage of the fact that my own language is widely spoken around the world and I’m increasing my carbon footprint drastically (counteracting any fuel that I may have saved by walking to work every day with one plane ride. Shit.)

I’m shrouded with guilt with all of this taking I’m doing. I’m also very aware of how fortunate I am to have so many givers in my life. I hope that I can begin to repay Big R, Sonam, India, Nepal or some other giver in the future, but I know that there is no feasible way that I could repay what I have taken in this life. Like many Americans, I’m in debt and I’m staying there. Maybe I can teach Indians about overspending and how much fun it is.

Happy Wednesday

The Happy Wednesday celebration with Sonamita.

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4 responses to “Danger in Debt

  1. Oh, and blah blah blah, take take, you’re totally nice and good to people and a friend and generally positive to those around you, etc, you giver you.

  2. I feel like your friend Big R. Many of my friends call me Mum even though we are the same age. I think it’s part of our nature to help people and share common sense when we can.

    There are plenty of ways you can give to the people you meet in your travels. It doesn’t have to be monetary. Giving them your time, your patience and friendship is worth a lot. I’m always horrified by the behavior of a handful of Westerners when I travel. Some people think that because they have money they can treat others like slaves in their own country. Be kind. Be patient. You are the foreigner. They’re being patient with you. Most of all, have fun!

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