I have the urge to purchase today.
It comes over me, something between an itch I can’t reach and a low-grade fever – just enough to make me goofy but not enough to keep me at home. Like a heroin addict with a couple of dollars and a low sense of self-esteem, in my mind’s eye I am already cruising the thrift shops and garage sales, dignity and self-preservation be damned…
I’m not always this way. I can go weeks and weeks without thinking about new elbow bleach or a plutonium-lined toothbrush cozy, but one morning I wake up, and there it is.
The urge to purchase.
It’s embarrassing. It does not fit with my view of myself. You know that view: the view where one secretly wishes to be seen as more “contributing” than “draining”, more “Mother Teresa” than “Paris Hilton”.
Why do I want new clothes, a new yoga mat, that gorgeous enameled flower pin I saw at Macy’s the other day? The world’s economy is in flux (thanks, Wall Street!), my 401(K) plan is losing money daily, I may end up sharing a bridge truss with countless others in my twilight years, the ice caps are melting, and I have the unnerving suspicion that the cat mocks my low-brow reading materials while I’m away.
And yet I still wish I had something new to wear…
Maybe that’s how the mind works. Maybe the general feeling of helplessness is somehow offset by the brain helpfully supplying one with things one can control or shiny, pretty things.
And maybe the women stepping off the Titanic and into the lifeboats straightened their stockings once seated. Because that’s kind of how it feels. I’m nervous, I’m afraid, and my mind is looking for comfort. Like my hangover craving for mashed potatoes and gravy with less actual restorative value.
Other than Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) and her sly insinuations that I don’t know good literature (I see the looks you give me, Cat!) there’s so little I can do but pay my bills, not spend foolishly, and cling to the warm circle of friends and family.
And if that cat knows what’s good for her, she’ll stop leaving snide post-its in my books and start thinking about getting a job. That ought to raise a couple bucks to help with rent.
Catnip ain’t free, ya know.
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