I am drinking water in my room. It’s out of a bottle.
It was sitting on the counter.
I had just finished a Nalgene I’d filled with tamarind juice.
My room overlooks the Pacific. I see whales in the distance.
I drink more water.
I wonder what we’re having for dinner.
The luggage that belongs to my roommate and me is strewn over the floor.
I drink more water and look at my watch. I breathe and stare at the wall.
Entitlement has become my primary language.
I spoke it when I grabbed the water bottle and dumped my luggage on the floor. And when I saw the pod of whales breaching from outside my window and didn’t feel anything but a trained sense of ‘cool’ that felt imitated and unoriginal. Like when we laugh at jokes we don’t understand.
Entitlement is a water word and its meaning dried up to me before I tried to drink it. And understand. Its dew is in the bottle of water I’m drinking and in the particles in the air I’m breathing. It’s in the space between my eyes and the whales reflected on my irises. Breaching inversely like buoyant cucumbers in a Dali.
Poverty makes you see entitlement like a dark curtain removed. Its little sharp knife presses against our soft sides and threatens an uncomfortable cut we neglect to make. Like a beehive under our beds, we fall asleep to the buzz every night and it becomes an insidious white noise like highway traffic. It’s a tune I hum as I swipe water bottles off of counters and crack their plastic seals before I knock back the liquid like a drunken robot.
Smelling the green air of Baja, Mexico unveils the sneaker wave of entitlement. Echoed in the words of my teachers, “value these experiences” takes on a crystallized meaning and I feel my throat close. Oh dear. I take so much for granted. In a depressed and shallow haze I drive down a dirt road in a 1992 Honda and I roll the window down with the hand crank. Something substantial crawls into my consciousness, maybe from the palms passing by or the stray dogs in the road, their nipples hanging limp from overuse.
Gratitude breaks out into a tribal song, which amuses me to no end like a joke, remembered two days later. The dust rises. Trash is in the street. And there is a smile on my face that spreads to my whole body. My feet know where the ground is and motorized transportation seems like a miracle.