Today it hit me that I am not a socialist because of three things from my past. They popped into my head today in a random fashion, yet somehow calling to me to do something with the idea.
I am a hard worker. As a teen, I babysat until I had saved up enough money to buy a cool teen sleeping bag for slumber parties. I’d been to many a party with some dumb old stinky army-green sleeping bag from the basement. It was embarrassing.
When I bought the polka dotted one, ready to go for the next slumber party, little did I know that my younger sister would get invited to a slumber party before I would. Guess who wanted to borrow my brand-new sleeping bag?
Now, if my parents had bought a new sleeping bag with the condition that we would all share it, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that. But I had spent the time sitting in other people’s houses, wiping other people’s children’s runny noses, and possibly wiping their children’s poopy bottoms.
I hadn’t spent the babysitting money on make-up or records or candy. I had spent it on the sleeping bag, still in the plastic wrapper.
I said no. It’s funny, Sis didn’t ask me. Our mother asked me. It was easier to say no to her.
Then, fast forward twenty years, and I am a new mom and a teacher in a school in southern California. I spent a good chunk of my teacher money on maternity clothes. And I have to tell you, I am super picky about laundry. I hang-dry all kinds of things to keep my clothes looking nice.
When one of the teachers told me she was pregnant and in the same breath asked me if she could borrow my maternity clothes, I was pretty horrified. I’d known her for all of six months, and I planned to be pregnant again.
I said no. I had taught those junior high kids English as a second langauge, Spanish, and social studies. I had driven up the foggy mountain all those mornings while feeling sick to my stomach to earn that money to buy those clothes. I felt like the little red hen.
Shortly after that, we moved to the Bay area, and I took those ugly clothes with me.
Finally, to cap it off, when first born had her dress-up party when she turned six, and all the girls from her kindergarten class were invited, one of the moms said, “Oh, now I know who to borrow dress-up clothes from for my daughter’s birthday party.”
Uh, no. I had spent a long time gathering the dresses, the jewelry, the scarves, the hats, the shiny shoes, and I had no intention of loaning out the hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff to a woman whose daughter was in my daughter’s class. I planned on havign another daughter, anyway.
Maybe this makes me a bad person. Maybe it makes me a capitalist and not a socialist. Maybe it makes me a person from a poor background who values stuff more than she should.
At any rate, I think it’s safe to say that I am not a socialist. But I am a Democrat.
So chew on that.