Now that I have had a “reversal of fortune,” I like to think that I am in genteel poverty, although I have never been wealthy. I maintain that even though I am poor, I can behave in a mannerly fashion and let my education and basically kind attitude prevail. I want to be around other genteel people who might or might not actually be in a poverty situation.
Alas, I am now living in the sordid underbelly of poverty and I do not like it. I want genteel poverty! So many “poor” people around me are not just poor in funds, but also in civility, kindness, simple manners, and good taste. They are angry and greedy. Many get everything free and want even more. It is not enough. They have better cell phones than I do; several have newer cars than I do; and many probably eat better than I do, because of food stamps and a free monthly food delivery from the government. With all the generosity they receive, you would think that they would be appreciative. Not so.
I admit, I do not know their history. I do not know how they got to this place. Maybe they have always lived in poverty and chose not to leave. I know some got here the same I did, through illness. But I do find that there are many who have no dignity, and therefore, are not genteel, in my opinion. And let me be clear, race does not enter into it. These people are poor in spirit, and I do not think you can be genteel in that state. I might be wrong, but that is my impression.
At this time in my life, I cannot really help anyone, so I have chosen to leave this underbelly and find a place more suitable to my impression of old age. It should have at least a smidgen of this genteel poverty that I practice and I want. It also should have less greedy and more generous souls residing there. When I find this place, I will be among people that make me comfortable and secure. I will have arrived at that genteel status, albeit a poor one.