The mornings I watched my corduroy blazer-wearing father go to work, and studied how he carried his briefcase out to the car, he seemed like such an important man you could wait in line all the reincarnations of your life to get a signature and it would still be worth coming back for.

In reality, he considered himself to be more of a Viking protecting his family from invading raiders, and when he went off to work, stoic as usual, and sporting a meditative gaze without so much as a goodbye, he thought this day could be my final ticket to Valhalla, but I’ll make sure my family will be taken care of a while longer before they’re lucky enough to meet me there.

That’s totally different than the way I think about myself going to work, though I admit with my backpack on during the walk there each morning, there is this sense I’m entering a wilderness I’ll need to be cautious with if I’m to make it home by the afternoon with the harvested food I’ll need to ration for the coming winter, knowing care, while still around, is so hard to come by you can’t count on it to be there when you need it to be, and must learn to live like a miniature of yourself if you want to stay manageable on earth.

I think if my father were alive today, he’d look at the way I choose to live and laugh and tell me I never had it so good. Except he wouldn’t understand my way of providing, which is to pick the food I eat sometimes so wisely, going hungry must become a part of my life, and I’m pretty sure even if he did understand it, he wouldn’t be able to stomach that for reasons that pretty much have everything to do with how he was raised, which favored the nepotistic idea that like indulges like.

Somewhat hesitantly, and not expecting praise, if he were here now, I’d like to think I’d tell him it’s my job to both literally and figuratively go hungry sometimes, and that I believe this can decrease a lot of suffering through limiting unhealthy interdependence. But I know that in his usual hypocritical and manipulative way he’d just have thought that was only my choice, and that any other hardships I endured as a consequence of that choice I only chose to take on, and must now sort of learn how to be friends with without his help.