In cases of true poverty, reality is supplanted by survival. Your definition of reality, which is quite valid, is based on the agrarian myth and is the antithesis of supermarket oranges-- growing up on the farm and killing our own cows and making our OWN damn shoes. Building some character. It's a hard life, you've got to work for it and fight for it but you always have just enough. Just look at us using all these big liberal-arts words to descibe it.

People who are really poor don't have the luxury of wondering if they are closer to reality. Its so much of an accomplishment just living day to day, without getting shot or raped or starved. These people can only dream of central air conditioning or fabric softener because they have nothing else to live for but the vague hope of a better life. Which they almost certainly will never achieve.

Last year, I decided to try an experiment. Will I become a better person by being poor? So I told my parents not to pay my tuition, rent, or food. Because I didn't demonstrate any financial need, and my academic scholarships totalled about half tuition, I was left with a bill of about $20,000 a year. So I got a job or two, refused any loans, didn't touch the principal, and tried to be poor.

So here I am, coding for 18 hours a week, and paying the bills, and I'm technically poor. But my lifestyle hasn't changed-- I still shop at Barney's though I wait for sales, I still go to the same parties and the opera and do the same volunteer work (though I currently do not have air conditioning). I can't get my Fiat fixed every 3 weeks anymore, and I walk rather than take the subway or the bus. All the while thinking that I am closer to reality, I'm noble, completely unlike my other classmates who don't pay for their tuition, or accept financial aid.

But then it hit me-- This doesn't mean shit. How dare I call myself poor, and glorify in it, when there are children starving on the streets?

Reality has nothing to do with money.