We always disagreed when it came to money. “Gas is $1.20 now!” I said in a shrieking tone. “Why do you always bring up how much things cost?” he responded frustratingly. As we were driving down Albert St. in my dark blue Ford Focus; my gas meter said I had about a quarter tank left. I kept thinking in my head about how much I could make that gas stretch till I got paid again. This wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last time that I would have to calculate such things in my mind.
He comes from a two parent home who both have successful businesses. He has traveled the world since childhood. He grew up having housemaids and drivers. He would tell me about how every Sunday after Mass, his family would go to the bakery to buy fresh French pastries. I listened intently as I would imagine living such a life in my mind. It’s not that I had a terrible childhood by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I grew up in Regina by a single mother who worked hard, although educated, she didn’t pursue it fully, which lead to not having a job that necessarily paid to live beyond paycheck to paycheck. We didn’t have someone to come and clean our house, and we definitely didn’t have a personal driver. I remember about every three years my mom would have to buy a new used car until the next one would break down. I had never traveled anywhere outside of Western Canada until I was an adult. I went from attending a public school to transitioning into a private school.
Despite these differences, it wasn’t until he responded with, “Why do you always bring up how much things cost?” did I really notice how socioeconomic differences play a part in our view of not only money, but also education and family relationships. I made that quarter tank last me until my next paycheck. As we kept driving down Albert St., I kept thinking about how much things cost and hoping that one day, I won’t have to be so concerned about something so simple, yet a privilege to have, a car to drive to fill up a tank with gas.