Living Like Atlas

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A few days ago I listened to NPR correspondent Pam Fessler’s, “The Other Side Of The Economic Divide”, in which she compares her own lifestyle and outlook with that of the financially burdened population she reports on. At one point, Fessler interviews a woman at a food pantry who recounts encouraging her now-grown children that they could do anything – and warning them that “a baby is a lifetime of aggravation.”

Like Fessler, I’m struck by that line. Not struck in an inquisitive, intellectual way. I feel like I’ve been struck. This description of parenthood as a lasting hardship physically assaults me. In my social circles, babies are blessings. Could poverty really change how I feel and talk about my children? Continue reading

A Marxist In A Minivan

Zapatista Subcomadante Marcos With my first child, I resisted the omnipresent minivan, opting instead for a station wagon. Because a 15-year-old Volvo 850 station wagon is cool. I know because I see them curbside at coffeeshops and thrift stores, outfitted with roof racks and ornamented with coexisting punk and foodie bumper stickers.

Minivans, on the other hand, tend toward Whole Foods and display well-regarded elementary school stickers.

I’ve always thought of myself as more left, less established. So my vintage Volvo felt right. Coffeeshops have long encouraged my dedication to books and ideas. Thrifting speaks to my disdain for rampant consumerism. I worry that whole foods and good educations are more exclusive than they should be.

So how do I accept my new (to me) minivan? Continue reading