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Thursday, April 8, 1999

Walked - 3 miles

I stopped at a supermarket on the way to work today to pick up some chips for lunch. I noticed that the people here seemed more "lower class" than the supermarket that I normally go to that in just two miles away. I've been trying to think about what it is that makes the difference.

The clothes aren't that different. Sure I'm lacking the fashion gene, but it doesn't seem that what you wear is the problem. Some people dress better than others, but it's more an attitude than anything. Two people can wear the same clothes and one will look better off than the other. With the same clothes ones will look shabbier or less fashionable.

There's a tiredness and a sadness in some people. A sense of seeming to have given up. To have nothing to look forward to. To have lost hope. These are the people who have quit putting up a front, but without the release that many people get from being themselves. The self that they show is one that doesn't care.

There are other people with little that look like they've seen the humor of life. They've seen the absurdity of life and have come to terms with it, but without giving up their hopes of changing it. They have a confidence that they can handle what comes along.

How much of this are we taught from birth? Why do generations of a family seem to have no hope? Often they have the same chances and opportunities as people who make something out of life, but they seem to be unable to take advantage of their opportunities or be afraid to.

Sometimes those who have given up hope, have given it up to something outside of themselves. These are the people who complain about always having bad luck. These are the people who use religion or cults or ideologies that tell them that is the "others" who caused their problems. Groups that will tell them that if they will only do as they are told, everything will be ok, even if the "ok" will be in the next life. They want someone to tell them what to do because they lost hope in their own decisions.

They've given up on themselves. I don't know if this attitude is more prevalent among people with less money or that people with more money can put up a better facade, or are expected to put up a better facade. Some people have more reason to give up if they are in a group that has been denied equal opportunity in society. They've been denied an equal chance to get ahead. . . but not everyone who has given up fall in this category.

I'm not really saying this all very well. It's such a nebulous thing and there are all shades and variety of giving up.

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Rachel Aschmann 1999.
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