The poor are great accumulators. Not necessarily of wealth for if this was the case, they would hardly be classified as being poor.
No, the poor are great accumulators of clutter as will be revealed in the days ahead as so many of the poor within our midst begin their annual house-cleaning. Great stacks and mountains of clutter will find their way from the homes of the poor into the rubbish heap.
Last year there was so much that the poor had to throw away that in many areas the garbage overflowed into the streets, and in others, was heaped up in great mounds near alleyways. All these tons of rubbish are removed from the homes of the poor to make way for new arrivals and to ensure that the homes of the poor are spruced up to create the illusion of well-being in time for Christmas.
One of the things that is noteworthy about this time of the year is the preparation between the richer sections and the poor sections of society. As you move around many of the upper class boroughs of the country, you find that most of the homes of the rich are already decorated and prepared for the holidays. For the rich, preparation begins early. The poor will wait for the last minute, and there will be a crunch to get the place ready in time.
If there is any advice that the poor should heed at this time it is to begin the process of de-cluttering, to get rid of all the unwanted stuff which has accumulated over the past year in your home, and to create some physical and psychological space, by ridding your homes of unwanted and underused items.
Being poor is no crime. And no poor person is going to emerge out of poverty by simply adding to his or her collection whatever item comes his or her way without assessing whether there is any use at all for those items.
There are some poor families who simply fill every single available space with some piece of furniture, at times making it impossible to move around or even to utilize that which exists.
No matter how small the home there must, for example, be a three-piece suite, a wall divider, a cabinet for storing wares and cutlery – some of which will hardly ever be used in the owner’s lifetime – a sewing machine, the symbol of independence, and a dining table. For a family occupying a small space, these things take some skill to fit in the limited space available.
Today, most poor homes have television sets, DVD players, laptops and all the latest gadgetry. So being poor is now just a class symbol; it is no longer about not having. Hire purchase and remittances have conspired to ensure that the poor have everything in their homes that the rich can have, except that the rich have, in accounting terms, more fixed and movable assets.
Yet despite having all the material possessions that they need, the poor still identify themselves as a disposed group. They feel alienated from political and economic influence and indeed they are. It is not the parties of the poor that the powerful political elite will attend. So it is the banquets of the propertied classes to which they will flock to slap backs and raise glasses in toasts.
Christmas is a time when the propertied classes do well and when the poor try to imitate this wellbeing through illusion such as repainting their homes to give an impression of newness – never mind the wood on which the paint is daubed may be rotten or not even belong to the person doing the painting.
What better way to create this illusion of newness and well-being than by replacing that old worn out vinolay on the floor. A new sheet of vinolay, especially one that is brightly coloured, is like replacing a floor and this is one of the items that sells like hot cakes at this time of the year. And so the cycle continues.
By the time next Christmas arrives, the poor would have accumulated a great more clutter and they will empty these and prepare for another house cleaning. But they would have hardly risen out of their poverty, no matter if they add to their already impressive collection, a washing and/or ice-making machine.
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