January 3, 2021 – Money ‘Matters’

I dreamt last night that I was shopping in a boutique clothing store. The female shopkeepers were fawning all over me, pulling all kinds of different items off the rack and shelves that they thought I might be interested in. “Here, try these on!” one of the ladies insisted. She had a high-end pair of designer jeans draped over her right forearm, while trying to direct me into the nearest dressing room with her left hand. It left me feeling a bit puzzled. In real life, this never happens. If I want help, unless I’m at an Ace Hardware where their store associates are trained to hound you until you succumb to their help (you almost have to beat them off with a stick), I usually have to hunt people down if I have a question. Even then, that first person usually doesn’t have the answer, so they direct me elsewhere. What I want to know is what was the point of that dream anyway? To learn how ‘the other half’ lives? Have I been to a boutique store before? Of course I have! But my experience never includes anything remotely close to ‘fawning’.

‘Ignoring’ is a closer representation to what I experience. I think those folks know an imposter when they see one. They probably know they’re not going to get a sale out of me so they don’t even try. One of the salespeople might make a sideways glance when I enter the store but that’s about all I’ll get. I definitely never get, “Can I help you?” Which is a loaded question, by the way. When anyone asks that question, I usually respond with, “It depends. Do you have a degree in Psychology?” I just want to know, how do they know I won’t make a purchase? Is it my $20 Wal-Mart jeans? What’s wrong with my jeans anyway? They’re made by Levi Strauss. They fit in the waist and the length and they’re flattering. Is it my Saucony running shoes that I got on clearance at Big 5 Sporting Goods for $15? And I have to make a little plug for ‘Saucony’ since I’m talking about them. Talk about ‘walking on a cloud’! If you are in the market for some comfortable shoes, give them a try! You won’t regret it!

Could it be the top I bought at Costco for $12? It’s a Gloria Vanderbilt and fits like a dream! The only thing they could have done better is make it so it doesn’t shrink in the dryer. That’s the only hang-up I have about it, that I always have to lay it flat to dry once I pull it out of the washing machine. If those shopkeepers and salespeople at the boutique store are not impressed with my Levi Strauss jeans, my Saucony running shoes, or my Gloria Vanderbilt top, the Tommy Hilfiger jacket should do the trick! Come on, Tommy never lets anyone down! And I really love this jacket because I got it on clearance at Marshall’s for $15 and the sleeves are long enough and it keeps me nice and warm and it’s not bulky so I can jam it into a tiny suitcase if I need to. What is it going to take to get more than a ‘sideways glance’? My goodness, I am like a walking/talking Benetton ad, except instead of ‘uniting colors’, I am ‘uniting designers’.

Wait! I know what it is! It’s my hair. They must sense that I don’t go to any of the fancy salons to get it cut. Fifteen dollars for a cut and style at Supercuts is my speed. Why would I spend $100 for basically the same thing somewhere else? I don’t know how they can tell but it must be pretty obvious, because those folks NEVER approach me. The last time I went to one of the boutique stores in my town, I went straight to the clearance rack. And there are more than one in my town, there are probably at least six. Six boutique clothing stores? Who is buying these clothes? What am I missing? Needless to say, I went through everything in the large and extra-large section. Everything. And not once did anyone ever come to ask if I needed help. What really was mind-blowing was what they were asking for the stuff on clearance. I am pretty sure the sign said everything was 80% off its original price.

I am not great at math, English is more my specialty, but what does it mean when a top is $40 after it’s been marked down 80 percent? Doesn’t that mean, tell me if I’m wrong, because I really hope I am, that the original price was $200??!! Two hundred dollars for one top? And it doesn’t even have sleeves? That’s more than my whole outfit put together, and I didn’t even include my bra, underwear and socks (when I mentioned my ensemble earlier)! Holy smokes! Who are these people that shop at these stores? If you know any of them, could you let them know I am available for adoption? No. I’m just kidding. I know that money doesn’t solve anything. It might remove the ‘desperation factor’ from day to day life, but it doesn’t solve anything. Maybe you can buy a beautiful house up on a hill that can only be accessed via a secure gate, designer clothes, nice cars and the opportunity to send your kids to a top educational institution.

But does it ACTUALLY solve anything? I don’t think so. If you’re depressed, you can have all of the money in the world but you’re still going to be depressed. If your family is fractured, it won’t help that either. In fact, it’ll probably make it worse. Lacking in the friends department? Nope, money won’t help. It won’t. You can try to ‘buy people’ by lavishing them with gifts and always paying for lunch in order to keep them around but those aren’t real friends. Those are shallow people that’ll scatter like cockroaches when you turn on the lights (or when you stop paying for lunch). Searching for purpose? Having money will allow you to fly around the world (if you so choose), scheduling conferences with some of the smartest people on this planet in order to determine your purpose. You can meet with Marilyn vos Savant, Chris Hirata, Judit Polgar, Kim Ung-yong (not to be confused with Kim Jong-un <– really bad guy), Terence Tao and even Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski to see if any of them can solve this nearly unsolvable riddle.

But the odds are, no amount of money in the world will help you answer that question. It’s the great equalizer. No matter how ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ you are, that is the question that each of us ask ourselves and few, if any, ever find the answer. And why on earth am I even writing about this? Since I started writing tonight, I’ve been asking myself the same thing. When I sat down at my desk and started tap-tap-tapping away on the keyboard, I was directionless, just like I’m feeling in life. I had no idea where things were going or where they’d ‘end up’. “Girl!” I told myself. “You’d better anchor yourself pretty soon or you’re going to run aground.” However, after looking over what I’ve written thus far, it makes sense. I believe that what’s really going on here, is that I’m trying to convince myself that money doesn’t matter, that I can find a way to make ends meet, while simultaneously growing more paranoid about what I’m actually going to do for a living in order to earn an income and pay the bills.

It’s quite the conundrum I’m finding myself in. I feel like all I do is fret and worry, worry and fret. I actually was listening to the radio yesterday and it featured an interview with Tom Petty. One of his famous quotes was mentioned, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.” And how true is that?! So true! Most of the stuff I conjure up in my brain never sees the light of day. However, as much as I try and prepare for the worst, sometimes bad stuff happens. But most of the time? The fear-inducing scenarios that I envision never happen at all. So, why do I worry? Great question! But one that I’ll have to answer some other time. Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do, especially when I write. And I hope I was able to make you smile, especially if you had a really crappy day. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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