You always hear about small town life and the way small town people take care of one another.
You hear about the friendliness and hospitality of Southern People.
You hear a lot about a thing called Christian Charity and Values.
This part of West Virginia considers itself the South.
It is NOT!
Grantsville considers itself a “friendly little town” and a “Christian Community with Christian Values”.
It is NOT!The past two months have driven home the fact that I am, in the words of a great writer, an “alien in an alien land.”
It has also taught me the true meaning of hypocrisy.
With the exception of a brief period of about 10 days, I have been living in my VW Beetle with my two dogs, Bitty, an 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier and Reedus, a four month old Chihuahua. I am considered "disabled” (cancer) and on a limited (very) income. I make $23 too much to get any assistance, with the exception of a whooping ten dollars in food stamps (which, btw, you have to disclose your entire life, up to and including the last time you took a piss (they want it!!) in order to receive them) and not enough to actually live on. Like a fool, I thought the ten day stint was going to be a several month respite, but I was lied to from the beginning and then asked to “reciprocate” for being there AFTER my fur babies lives were threatened. NOT!! Anyway, I had bought food for that place, thinking I was going to be there, as well as toilet paper and such.
So money is non existent, but the pups have food and water and I am losing the weight that I have been bitching about! (Yeah, there IS an up side to almost everything life throws at you!)
I did recently spend the night in a tent!! It was good to stretch out for a change, as the doodle bug doesn’t have much “stretch” room even if you are only five foot two inches tall. (doesn’t have much other room either, but we are making do) Anyway, I got a few hours stretched out on the ground with blankets for padding.
Then it began to rain, which is not unusual this year (Since the beginning of June we have yet to have a four day stretch WITHOUT rain, it’s like living in Southeast Asia, rain, heat, humidity……fun, fun). It wouldn’t have been bad then either, except……..the tent began to leak…..and leak…..and, well no need to go on I suppose. Anyway, we got wet and so did our belongings.
So, back to the doodle bug it was, and still is.
Now, in case any of you are wondering what any of this has to do with my introduction, please give me a moment to explain.
As I said, Grantsville is a little town. It is the county seat of a sparsely populated county in the North Central part of the state. There are some nice folks here. Unfortunately there are more assholes, idiots, backstabbers, trouble makers and self centered hypocrites than any where I have EVER been. I have lived in small towns and big cities as well as out in the country in several states besides this one and NO WHERE have I had the misfortune of encountering such a LARGE number of the above mentioned scum in any one area!
Many people around here bitch and complain about the “druggies” that make poison in campers, houses, trailers and apartments across the county, then these self same people help the “druggies” get food stamps, medical coverage, stipends and on the rare occasions that they need money for their supplies, jobs. (Yes, I guess if you’re making meth you sometimes need reliable income other than your personal sales) Those complainers will buy stolen property from the druggies, they will let them live in decent properties at an unbelievably cheap price (properties which ultimately get condemned by the Drug Task force), they will watch their “poor little babies” while the druggies PARTY and will, on numerous occasions, post bond when the idiots get busted for manufacturing!!
Hypocrisy in action!!!
But if you are a fifty-five year old single woman who raised FOUR very good, very successful kids, they will talk about you, make up stories about you and flat out do whatever is necessary to make your life harder than it should be.
Oh, they will offer to rent you a run down trailer in need of floors and windows throughout for $325 a month plus an equal deposit, then turn around and rent it to a meth-head for HALF that!!
The majority of the supposed GOOD, UPSTANDING, CHRISTIAN (and I use that word in the loosest of forms) people of this community care about one thing and one thing only – THEMSELVES. What they have, what they can get, what people sees, that is ALL that is important!
The “GOOD WORKS” they do are always things other people can see and comment “OH, HOW CHARITABLE of you” or “WHAT AN GOOD THING YOU’RE DOING”. In other words, if it is NOT a public display of some form it is NOT DONE! Making a public donation to this or that (usually some charity that has never benefitted people around here) so people can see how generous they are instead of renting out a house to someone who desperately needs it. They would rather the house fall down than for someone to get use from it.
And their “VALUES’ – the things that are valued are MONEY and what it an buy THEM so other people will look at them and think about how “well” they are doing (even if they are in debt up to their eyeballs), the RESPECT they think they get for being so “charitable” or community minded, never mind the fact that the little things, the day to day kindness that is so important is TOTALLY ABSCENT from their lives!!
IT IS ALL FOR SHOW!! To make people ‘look up’ to them.
Southern Hospitality? Which, btw, is a real thing in SOUTHERN areas, but not here. Anyway, their idea of Southern Hospitality is to smile and wave and then talk about you behind your back like you are the original Harlot of Babylon. To your face they are all friendly and kind and as soon as your head is turned they are doing their best to make sure you are just as miserable as they are.
See, that is the heart of the problem here. MISERY, pure and simple. So many “haves” hate the “have not's (only they would deny it to their last breath) because the HAVE NOTS have found something that has eluded the HAVES for generations, They have found a peace and calm that can only be discovered when a person looks deep within themselves.
The ONLY people who have truly attempted to help me (here) have been THOSE WHO HAVE NO MEANS TO HELP!! The ones that are struggling to keep a roof over their own heads and often wonder where their next meal is coming from, those people have repeatedly offered to share what little they have. The ones driving the new or almost new cars with one, two or three more sitting at home, the ones who have to have all the newest toys with all the bells and whistles, the ones that waste money like it falls from the sky? Well they are the ones that treat me like shit. They act as thought I am LESS than them in some basic way.
What the majority of these assholes don’t know is (and yes I am tooting my own horn for a second) that I have ALWAYS been the person that would share my meal with someone who has none. I WAS RAISED THAT WAY!! If I have a sandwich and you have none, I will gladly give you half of my sandwich. If I have $10 dollars and a person is hungry or thirsty, I have no problem buying them a burger or a coke or a coffee or whatever. I was raised that we do WHATEVER WE CAN to help one another. That’s why I do the Christmas Card Project and try to help people when they need money for bills or whatever. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSE TO DO!!
I don’t regret helping anyone I have ever helped, although I do sometimes wish (particularly here lately) that I had half of what I have given. I usually get over that quickly.
I have a car that keeps the wind and rain off of me, yes it is not a comfortable place to sleep, yes it gets so hot you can’t breathe sometimes, yes I am damned tired of it – BUT IT IS BETTER THAN SOME PEOPLE HAVE IT! And I am so very thankful for that.
Do I ever say I’m done being good to people? Yes, at least fifty times a day, but I still do it, even though these days it puts me in a bind.
BECAUSE THAT IS WHO I AM! Love it or hate it, that is just me.
Do I ever say “I do this stuff for people and what good does it do? What is the point?” YES, on a daily basis lately.
But I know people have helped me, and I am so very thankful for that!
Complete strangers collected over $200 and sent it to me this past month. It kept me fed, kept food and water for the pups and put gas in the car for a while. But it is expensive to live in a car – no way to keep things cold unless you buy ice – and on these 96 degree days you have to buy several bags a day. $1.62 x 2 = $3.24 a day for ice, times that by 30 days and it’s $97.20 for ice! That is more than a lot of electric bills ( if you don’t have AC).
Water is $1.00 a gallon (and we go through more than a gallon a day), times that by thirty and you have $30 for water.
Oh yeah, I forgot, I live in a state where EVERYTHING is taxed, so there is 6% tax on everything I buy!
Pup food is .78 a can times 3 cans a day (more if I’m not eating and share my food with them) and you have $2.34 plus tax a day!
It is expensive. I have no where to put any amount of food/water, I only have a small cooler. I have no access to free drinking water. And we haven’t even talked about my one meal a day or the cost of the storage for my belongings.
EXPENSIVE!! YUP as much as rent almost!
I did find a place that is $450 a month with no utilities (doesn’t include a phone). I would have to keep a phone (emergencies, my dad, etc.) and it would cost me $45 (plus tax) a month, so let’s say $48 a month. That would make housing cost $498 a month. Insurance on my car is $65, so now the total is $563, toilet paper, dog food, soap – at least another $120, so that is now $683, that leaves a grand total of $60 a month for food for me and gas for the car. I don’t see that happening, do you?
Go somewhere else, right?
Good idea – BUT- my car needs front tires, about $120 USED if I’m lucky, an oxygen sensor, $78, a fuel filter, which is under the back seat so the labor sucks, it will run between $90 and $130 depending on the time needed, a throttle control sensor @ $186 just to be ABLE to leave here. That’s $496 dollars JUST TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE AWAY, never mind finding a way to haul my meager belongings.
So I guess I’ll make do with what I have and be thankful for it!
I feel better for getting some of this off my chest. It still doesn’t make the situation better, but I do feel better despite that.
And I will continue to do what I an for those who need it.
I guess I’ll never learn, will I?