Fiction in response to Responsible Consumption and Production
Forget About Me
By Grace Muresan
I work at a big tech company in the heart of the Tech industry, Silicon Valley. But I am not a software engineer or any of the other prestigious high-paying jobs you’re thinking of. In most of these companies, workers are given free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I work in serving it to them. Every day I wake up early, often before 5:00 in the morning, and go to work to cook, serve, and clean up after the people who had the opportunity, and took it, to work in the tech industry. Yes, I do get free meals as well. However, I don’t get paid a tenth as much as the programmers or managers. They are the only ones with a chance to get rich, and I am just another smiley face in a uniform that gives you gluten-free scrambled eggs and an espresso each morning. Did you forget about me?
Maybe I didn’t study hard enough in school, maybe I couldn’t because since I was 11, I worked small jobs to support my family, but I never really had a chance to get rich. Did you forget about that?
Then what about my children? I eat well, but I have zero surplus money on top of taxes, bills, food, insurance, all the necessary things. At times I can’t even afford school supplies. When the regular janitor is out sick, I take over. It helps only a little, but a little can make ends meet.
What about us? What about my husband, who works 5 AM to 9 PM, not 9 to 5? What about the thousands of people who work long hours and live short lives and are constantly worrying about their next meal, or not falling more than two months behind rent, or making sure their kids won’t have to drop out of school and live like them later? What about the two billion people living in poverty, not even just in developing countries, but in developed countries, even the U.S.
Then it comes to my job. Every day, we have to watch Americans throwing away food even while 42 million Americans –including us– live in homes without sufficient access to food. According to research done by Johns Hopkins, if Americans recovered all the food they threw away, they could give a 2,000-calorie diet to 84% of the world's population. And I, a hardworking mother, am in charge of that. I am in charge of watching people who sit down at a computer working on the latest technology, get free access to the many gyms, and never worry about food or money, throw away food as one disregards the air they breathe out. Food that I made, food that I could give to my growing and starving children, food that could literally sustain hundreds to thousands of starving humans. Does that sound sustainable to you?
And did you forget about me?