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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Gift that Cost Me Nothing

Every time I think about writing a post these days, a key word is Nothing. What does Frugal Son want? Answer: Nothing. Miss Em: the same, not to mention that she's in Serbia. As for Mr FS and me, well, we have too much to begin with in our very middle-class life. So gift-giving for the holidays has become rather nonchalant these past few seasons.

Frugal Son lives--with two roommates--in a house that we bought in New Orleans. We used the money we got upon the death of his beloved father, Bill. The house is in the Irish Channel neighborhood, which as been gentrifying for more than 20 years.  The block is very neighborly with a diverse group of people, many of whom make a point to watch out for each other.

One of Frugal Son's roommates has been on "probation" with us since leaving the door of the house open one night when the other two tenants were gone. Some thieves entered the house at night, took the keys which he had considerately left next to the front door, and stole his big truck. yeah, he was lucky. You can see why neighbors keeping an eye out is a good thing in a city.

Frugal Son's across the street neighbor is--we assume--on public assistance. She takes care of her 16 year old grandson. She keeps a close eye on him. She has very little money. Recently, Frugal Son asked us if we had a little computer lying around that we could give the grandson.

The answer: yes. We bought a tiny eee computer to take to Europe a few years ago. We haven't used it in a while because Miss Em bought one also for her summer course in Florence. We really only need one. Yes, that last paragraph just exudes privilege, does it not?

So we are giving the computer to the grandson. What does it cost us: nothing.

That we can give a kid a computer with such ease is a sobering thought. It doesn't even make a dent.


Gam Kau said...

Something similar happened to me recently. I was selling a stereo online and a woman came to my home to purchase it. I learned she was a single mother who uprooted herself and her son from Spain to try to make a new life in the UK. They came with just some clothes, but nothing else. I insisted she take the stereo free of charge and have been looking around for other things to help her set up a new life. It is, indeed, very sobering how privileged we are.

dotsybabe said...

I'm stuck on the roommate on probation. Unless he is a life-long friend, I don't see the point of keeping someone so careless in the house.

Duchesse said...

@dotsybabe: I wondered about the cause of that too- there are a number of standard reasons (for a young adult- but this just might make him an exceptional roommate, having learned a costly lesson.

re the computer: It's a meaningful gesture to give a family something needed that they could not otherwise have. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

The amount of stuff I have is ridiculous. I need to give more.

Janice Riggs said...

We are all so privileged to have so much, because it means that we have so much go give. Let's all keep our eyes open for more opportunities to share - making our own lives more simple, and enriching someone else's life in to a degree we can't ever know.

Frugal Scholar said...

@GK--Wonderful. Some years ago, we put out the word in a similar case and got lots of necessities from nieghbors and colleagues,
@dotsy--He's been good since. He is a "great" tenant, since he's only there 2 days a week. Lives w/ his parents on other days, near where he has a job.
@Duchesse--right-o. Thanks!
@Janice--Yeah--I don'tkeep my eyes out enough. I am glad that my son does.