On friday evening, I went to the home of gross material excess, greed and drunkenness that is Lo-Do in Denver. Normally I avoid lower downtown, because it is really for college students who come down from Boulder, tourists who want an "authentic" Denver experience and people who like to think of themselves as chic. I prefer the smaller neighborhood bars (Streets of London, the Atomic Cowboy, Wyman's and the Elm) to the high energy clubs and high priced drinks of downtown.
Nine of us spent friday evening and the wee hours of saturday morning at Sing Sing. This is a fabulous dueling piano bar, complete with a cover charge, expensive drinks and a dancing and singing wait staff. Don't get me wrong, I had an amazing time and we practically shut down the bar, but I was struck at just how different my life is than many other people. Most of my friends are USC alums or closely affiliated with USC alums. My other friends work at non-profits so they are already choosing to live their lives differently.
At Sing Sing, money can buy you just about anything you could desire. Any sort of alcoholic drink you can imagine, a song that you want the pianists to play, souvenirs and even a chance to get up on the stage and dance and sing all you want. I watched one man fork over $50 to get the piano players to stop playing "American Pie". Just to watch someone else top him with even more money to have the song continue.
I wonder if I will ever again be so easy going with my money. I used to buy clothes, food, soda and overall, junk, without a second thought. Now I think about where every dollar is going and what it could better be used for.
$17 can help someone obtain their birth certificate
$20 buys a full bag of groceries
$10 pays for a TB test (necessary to stay in a homeless shelter)
$3 provides round trip bus fare
$52 provides an unlimited bus pass for one month
$30 provides one month of birth control pills
However, as evident on friday evening, it is not common for people to think about how their money is being spent and how they might be able to help their fellow human beings. While I do experience lots of guilt and plenty of remorse at my station in life, I can choose to live differently.