Ketchup Sandwiches and Other Things Stupid Poor People Eat

“Folks of privilege don’t understand how $17 can ruin you”

Anastasia Basil
Human Parts



II met this woman named Mae. She’s a van driver for a production company. She works 14-hour days but says she doesn’t mind, says she keeps one eye on the road and the other on the prize — a paycheck that has to last through the dead months.

We’re driving through a poor stretch of Atlanta. Dirty streets. Old houses. Plastic toys upturned in front yards, no kids though. The neighborhood is quiet. I live in L.A., land of nannies and gardeners where the hills are alive with the sound of toddlers and leaf blowers. I prefer Atlanta. You can find parking at the grocery store in the middle of the day. In L.A. it doesn’t matter what time it is, the Trader Joe’s is packed with SAHs and WAHs (stay-at-homes and work-at-homes).

We pass a decades-old Buick Skylark. I point it out.

“You into cars?” Mae asks.

I’m not into cars, but my dad and I once abandoned one of those Buicks on the side of a Florida highway when I was a teenager. That’s how my family did cars — we bought them on their last leg and left them where they died. I tell her how I’d come home from high school and there’d be nothing in the fridge but a bottle of red wine vinegar and a head of lettuce…