My Ration Book and Me / Regina Coyula

In the years when I believed in the government, I also believed that the ration book was a necessary evil that would disappear as the supply available to consumers’ wallets increased. In that era I felt almost homesick: Red meat every nine days, to cite the most memorable luxury, aside from tomato puree and condensed milk among other things. Despite “Dad’s” subsidies, I wanted to get to that time when abundance would make the indispensable booklet obsolete.

Well contrary to my fantasy predictions, the booklet will disappear but not for the reasons I’d hoped, quite the opposite. The economy is so precarious they can barely manage the so-called subsidies. “Daddy” forgot to give me at those prices the products I need for barely half a month; the rest I have to acquire on the free market in national money, not to mention that, if it’s not acquired in the shops selling in foreign currency, forget it. Things like milk, something over a pound a month of chicken for each person, deodorant or shampoo, not to mention caviar and French perfume.

The new booklet, as my friend says, is a waste of raw materials, as a postage stamp size format would be sufficient to keep track of what we get now.

Although I’ve never lived it, I know the time will come when, on his salary, a worker can buy what he needs without thanking “Dad.”

January 7 2011