Someone in my life has been keeping a class blog. She writes in it everyday. She doesn't have to. She doesn't even have to think about class. But she's committed to it. I respect that. A lot.
The following is a post she made of an interaction we had, and then my response.
"four cabbage perogies, four potato perogies, and the same for you...together or separate?"
"what do you think?"
"ahh, i don't know."
"you suck at making decisions"
"that's true! ahhh"
"it's up to you - together or separate?"
wtf happened? what does it have to do with class?
What happened was that you offered to pay, and that made me uncomfortable.
I thought of when I worked at Panera, and the couplings of old ladies would doggedly seek out my cash register at the most conceivably inopportune segment of busy o’clock in order to argue teasingly about who would pay. Each would throw their preferred method of payment onto the counter for me to choose while they exchanged strings of compliments and I-owe-you-so-muches with one another, occasionally professing to me, “how good of a friend she’s been to me all these years.” On good days it was coquettish and endearing, but on bad days, I wanted to pick up the damned cash/card and say, “We are getting 6 dollars and hour. We aren’t allowed to accept tips, but why don’t one of you adopt a Panera worker in the other’s name if ya wanna do somethin’ sweet?”
I thought about how you paid before, at Haymarket, and it didn’t seem fair for you to do it again. Fairness means equal, right? Except I know better. And you’ve told me you do too.
I reminded myself that I don’t have a job and you do, and I cashed in my last savings bond to pay the minimum balance on my credit card. I felt frustrated that I don’t have a job. I felt disappointed that we weren’t gonna act out that old lady scene. I wanted that generosity back in my life. I felt like I had lost the opportunity to do something nice for someone I care about. I recognized that that was a freedom you were exercising.
So I joked about my indecision, (which does, in fact exist). I let you pay, and I recognized that those miniature jolts of guilt and shame I was feeling had a little something to do with internalized class oppression. And I decided that having you around was good for my class-consciousness.