A local township is reappraising the property tax. A coworker’s property went from something about $35,000 to $89,000 assessed value. This shows the rural area I’m in, for there to be such a low value, but the increase is astounding. By all accounts the property appears at its former worth and has not been magically transformed; it is a redneck residence.

Hearing this shriveled a little vibrancy out of my dreams. I have been told before by my father’s generation that you never own land, the government owns it all; but hearing directly of raw exploitation sucks the vibrancy out of the idea of owning a home. Why make yourself a target for money-hungry politicians?

I was also in the grocery store looking at a sample box of herbal tea, and a fellow shopper said “That’s very good.”

“Is it?” I said.

“Yes,” she said, “I just can’t afford it this week.”

Can’t buy a box of tea? It’s normal herbal tea–lemon, mint, chamomile. It’s not something exotic. How can your budget be so tight you can’t buy a box of tea?

I have probably lived through so tight a budget, but only as a child, a child who might have felt deprived of Cap’n Crunch but never thought twice about a box of tea. At a point in my life where I marvel at how much houses cost, and feel in that context that my means are small, I stagger to think of fretting over a box of tea.

There are curses in the Bible for those who exact so much property tax that people cannot feel free to buy a box of tea.