I carried a number of things with me from Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" series. One of them was deprivation.
George doesn't spare anyone in his series. War is brutal and so is its impact on life. Children are considered possible future threats. Food and crops could sustain the enemy so take and destroy. The smallfolk and travelers suffer most from these positions. Who can be trusted? Well, no one. Allegiances and alliances are twisted and tortured, as are the people. Injustice happens as often as sunrise.
Food is scarce. People starve. They eat handfuls of raw grain. They're not happy but it's something in their stomach. Martin describes meals of mice, squirrels, cats, dogs. A horse dies, it's eaten. They eat berries that are almost ripe, paste made of acorns, stringy stray carrots and small, hard potatoes, and moldy stale bread. They drink sour watered wine and boiled beer as often as water.
It has me thinking of how often I've walked into the kitchen and thought, there's nothing to eat. We have bins of flour, corn, pasta and noodles, cans of soup, frozen foods, vegetables and meats, and I think, there's nothing to eat. What I want to eat are sandwiches so there's nothing to eat because I've frozen all the bread and quit buying all the sandwich fixings. None exist in my house. There's nothing to eat.
Part of this is to lose weight and be healthier but it's also an effort to be more mindful about phrases such as 'there's nothing to eat', 'there's nothing to do', 'there's nothing to watch,' and 'there's nothing to read'. What I really mean with each is that as a spoiled person, I don't want any of those things. I know I can get in the car and go buy something or walk down to a store or restaurant and buy something. The point is not to do those things but to remove food as an object of desire and return it to its rightful place as a need.
So I suck it up. Nothing to eat? Please. As much as taste, it's also convenience. I go out, harvest some lettuce from our garden and pick some tomatoes. We have onions hanging in nylons in storage if one isn't out and in use. There are carrots, radishes and cucumbers in the refrigerator, along with crookneck squash, green beans and potatoes, blackberries and blueberries. There are no sandwiches to eat but there are plenty of other things to eat.
It's tougher at the coffee shop, eyeing their tasty offerings of quiches, scones, coffee cakes, wraps, burritos, pies, and sandwiches. I've thought of carrying just enough to pay for my drink and tip them so I lack the wherewithal to buy but I like being able to give something to the unfortunates I encounter on my walk so I carry a few extra dollars for that. To help trick myself, I put my coffee money in one pocket and the rest in another so I can pretend it's not there.
Silly, right? It's just another way of helping me cope with the lack of will and discipline and appreciate what I have. If that doesn't work, I just pretend I'm in one of George R.R. Martin's books.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com