After my lips severely chapped up yesterday afternoon, I searched through my bag and jacket pockets for a quick fix. Nothing turned up. All of my tubes and containers were in my apartment, avenues away. I flew into a CVS, held one package of lip treatment in both of my hands, stared at it for half a minute, and reluctantly headed toward the checkout line.
I didn’t do it. I couldn’t spend several dollars on a product I already have piles of at home. So my mouth stayed miserable.
Sometimes I forget that I don’t live paycheck to paycheck anymore. And that my scary-broke years are over. I used to tailor the hems and waistbands of my pants with binder clips from my office.
A couple of years ago, I collaborated with a guy who first came to this country as an undocumented resident. He’s now a U.S. citizen and noted that he often finds himself going through life the way he had during those undocumented days, constantly looking over his shoulder, assuming he’s still in danger, unable to let go of the creative survival instincts, no matter how much time has passed.