Proposhko Yezero

Tambura took off for the high hills with a plastic bag stuffed in his pocket, promising to return with blueberries. I walked lazily home, staring at the dirt road. I found a little black sheep leg lying in the lane, with its hard hoof, bloody at the top. In another lane, I discovered something that resembled a trachea. I watched a woman with a ruddy face, a face that may never have known makeup, wind a ball of fresh yarn.

These people spend most of their day providing directly for their personal survival. They walk with their sheep, shear them, milk them, kill them, make cheese and make bread by the light of oil lamps. They build their own houses and grow their own vegetables. They make medicine from plants. They boil their bathwater. They blow my mind.

Back in the cabin, I murdered a monstrous bumblebee with a splint of firewood. This made me feel somewhat rugged. But I felt empty too. I wanted to leave. “I like toilet paper,” I murmured to myself. “I like toilets.”

I thought of the world order, of the people from Mexico who pick my fruit, the workers in China who make the cheap clothes I depend on, and the maids who clean the public buildings I use. I thought of all those people who shrink-wrap food and deliver it to the store, who hammer and wire and weld and dig up oil from deep under the sea, who climb up poles to fix my telephone, who whisk away my garbage. My standard of living depends on how many people are working for me. Whose work makes your life easier? Whose life is easier because of your work? Could you be rich if no one were poor

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