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Friday, October 24, 2008

I’ll See Your Simple Modesty and Raise You An Unnecessary Purchase

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.


Kavi said...

I am glad such itches are on clothes and such other external stuff ! Ones that you remove and move on.

For me the itches are with food. And you got that right. The more calorie rich they are..yes..i would like them..esp when i am low on self esteem ...

They sit for two minutes on the lips and of course for a lifetime on the hips !


Pearl said...

Kavi, you make a very good point there. I guess they ARE external, aren't they?

Luckily, there is not a good bakery in my neighborhood. :-)


Not The Rockefellers said...

Oh man do I ever know that itch! I think there is something in the Target flyers that rubs off onto your fingers and slowly seeps into your bloodstream. You read the flyer on Sunday,along with the Sunday paper, and by Wednesday you are all itching and scratching like a junkie.

Must-Have-New-Merona-sweater- featured-on-cover-of-flyer!

It's on an endless loop in your brain, that along with the Bom-Bom-Be-Dom part of that new Rhianna song.

You may even sing it to that tune as well.

So what do you do? Scratch the itch or tough it out?

Or hope for a Target patch?

I do laundry and realize I don't want to put another thing away.

that cures it for a little bit.

Peace - Rene

Pearl said...

Hi, Rene!
Love the washing-folding-putting-away angle. I'm going to use that.

And avoid the circulars.


The Grandpa said...

I always new the circulars were evil. I try to lose them as I come back up the driveway carrying the Sunday morning paper, but somehow, S, always finds them. I don't really mind so much except when she asks me to go shopping with her.

Good post, Pearl. And, oh, I wouldn't keep a cat around that refused to get a job...

June Saville said...

You always have your bloggy mates Pearl. We give our love and our comments for free!
Me, I turn to chocolate. Luckily 'cause it's cheaper than Macy's ...
June in Oz