Singled Out: Michelle Has Never Been Anywhere

Today was the last of three days of training for my summer job (if you remember my post not so long back worrying about finding employment, I managed somehow!). One task which could be assigned is going to the airport to pickup our guests. There were 60-70 of us there for training, and it is possible that any of us could have to go, even if it isn`t in our particular job description (though it is for me). To make sure everyone would be up to the task, our boss said “Now, I`m not trying to embarrass anybody, but has anyone not been to an airport?”. Out of those 60-70 people, I was singled out, as I was the only one who had never been to an airport in my life. I passed it off by saying I was from the country, and therefore far from all airports, and that does play into the matter.

In truth, the reason I have never been to an airport, on a plane, etc. is because I come from a very poor family, and there has never been the money to justify getting on a plane to go anywhere, let alone go anywhere. I have been out of Canada, which I am thankful for, though the only reason is because my paternal grandparents are still American citizens and travel to the States fairly often. For this reason, I have been to Michigan a handful of times when I was younger; not to any big cities, and not for anything more exciting than shopping, but I went,, nonetheless. The farthest I have been in Canada is within my own province (Ontario), and 95% of that has been school trips. People seem to find it odd that I’ve only been to Toronto 3 times, even when I explain that it’s at least a 4-hour car ride. The furthest I’ve ever traveled from home was to Niagara Falls, but I didn’t see the falls, but rather went to Marineland with a friend when we were young. That is the extent of my travelling: shopping trips, school trips, and one trip with a friend. I’ve never been on vacation or stayed in a hotel. The only thing my family ever did together that involved travelling was going to a local “zoo” (not exactly a zoo, but that’s the best description), which is less than an hour away. I understand that living in the country puts you pretty far from most destinations, but most people in our area have traveled a little.

My lack of travel is something that has bothered me for quite some time. It’s not that I’ve not gone anywhere out of lack of interest; quite the opposite, travelling is a dream of mine. There has just never been the funds. I’m a fairly pessimistic person when it comes to money and finances, though not entirely unreasonable. This means I know that I will never get to travel to all the places I want to go. In fact, I’ll be lucky to go very far at all.

Which is why this job is slightly fantastic, because it will involve some travelling. It isn’t certain yet which places I’ll end up going, but there is a chance of going to the CN Tower, or to see the falls (both things I’ve never done), or of going up further north in Ontario, or even of going to Quebec (something I’ve wanted to do for some time). What could be better than travelling and getting paid for it?

But, I digress. I have never been to an airport, though chances are I will before the end of the summer, along with a little bit of travel. However, I was still a little mortified by being the only one in the room; it was like admitting to some sort of naivete, pointing out just one of a long list of things I have never done in my life, and, to my mind, practically shouting “I’m poor!”.

Surely someone who reads this will understand the feelings that come with being poor. It embarrasses me. It is obvious enough to people from my far from straight teeth, though I cover most other signs well. It felt like this just drew more attention to it, something that I avoid at all costs (ha! costs! poverty!).

I know the boss said she didn’t mean to embarrass anyone with it, but it did embarrass me, even if nobody really cared or said much about it. I care about it. I don’t like being the minority in a situation like this, especially when it’s with my coworkers. Not even my medication could save me from this depression today!

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2 Comments

  1. Marie

     /  May 18, 2016

    I understand how it feels to grow up in a poor family. You always get those weird looks from people when they ask, “You’ve never done … ? You’ve never been … ?”

    Like you, we never had money to travel. We never had money for vacations. Mcdonalds was a treat. Still to this day, my family focuses on money 98% of the time and it’s a huge stress factor for me.

    Reply
    • It can be really disheartening, can’t it? “McDonald’s was a treat” – yep, I’m right there with you! Money can be so stressful and I think it’s hard to unlearn being anxious and stressed about it. But hopefully we’ll both get there some day! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment

      Reply

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