The babysitter reports that last week J asked her if she was poor and she said yes, but then she felt wrong about her answer all week. I didn’t want him to think this is what it looks like to be poor, she says, gesturing toward her North Face coat and her L.L.Bean backpack. The babysitter is a former student of mine who worked all through college, unlike most of my students. This week J asked her again if she was poor and she said no. So, you’re rich, he said. Well, it’s all relative, she said.
J was feeling rich because David had given us a tall candle, the tallest candle J had ever seen. It was a votive candle meant to bring abundance into our lives. How much more abundance, I wondered, could we absorb? I was feeling rich, too.
After the babysitter explained what relative meant, J said, I have a really tall candle, but someone else might have a taller candle than mine, so they’re rich and I’m not?
This, I tell the babysitter, is why nobody thinks they’re rich.
ok this is banal but still kinda funny