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Monday, August 23, 2010

Perhaps My Parents Would Consider Reinstating My Allowance

Will I still be considered to be properly pulling my own weight if I stop on the way home and do a little shopping for myself?

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 make me call in sick.

I’m not always this way. I can go weeks and weeks without thinking about a new tube of elbow bleach or a cedar-handled toaster de-crumber, but one morning I wake up, and there it is. Like a tattoo 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.

It’s embarrassing. It does not fit with my view of myself. You know that view: the view wherein 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 cover, that gorgeous enameled flower pin I saw at Macy’s the other day? The world’s economy is in flux, I may end up sharing the underside of a bridge 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 a general feeling of helplessness is somehow offset by the brain helpfully supplying one with the things that one can control.

Or shiny, pretty things.

And maybe the women stepping off the Titanic and into the lifeboats straightened their stockings as they were being seated. Because that’s kind of how it feels. I’m nervous, I’m afraid, and my mind is looking for comfort. The desire to acquire something new (or new to me) may be something akin to my post-party, hangover craving for mashed potatoes and gravy, only with less actual restorative value.

It may be a distraction.

In an attempt to waylay the creeping desire to buy something new, I'm going to sew new drapery for the living room. In anticipation of this, Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) has ceased her mocking of the books I've been reading lately and has taken to sitting on her tiny, fuzzy rear-end and thoughtfully pulling at her back claws, her adorably white and razor-sharp nails glinting in the pools of sunlight she regularly occupies.

I told her, on my way out the door this morning, that if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll stop leaving snide post-its in my books and start thinking about getting a job -- or catching me a mouse.

Gas, grass or -- catnip, I believe the saying goes -- no one rides for free.

28 comments:

Fred Miller said...

Someone from my hometown posted a picture of me on facebook from twenty years ago wearing a black shirt with white orchids on it. I thought . . . I wonder. . . . Went to the closet. It was still there. That's why Tessa orders new clothing for me and has her other caregivers throw my frayed Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts out while I'm away at class.

The Fred Effect: On Nietzsche

Georgina Dollface said...

I go through phases like that too from time to time. For example, I usually take pride in telling people that I don't drive a fancy car and that what I have now will probably last me another 5 years and that's just fine with me. But the other day I saw a shiny new car and I thought to myself, "I have to wait another 5 years before I get to experience that new car smell again? Who made up that dumb rule Georgina?" - G

Simply Suthern said...

You have to buy clothes occasionally to maintain the "One Snappy Dresser" moniker. You could always take down the old curtains and fashion a dress a-la "Gone With The Wind".

I get the urge once in a while to buy some new tool. The screwdriver with the ergodynamic grip or the reversable ratcheting wrench set. I almost bought a new weedeater this weekend until I spied the "fix your old weedeater kit". It was priced at 3% of the replacement cost and I got the thrill of DIY.

That was a common bumpersticker from the past. I think it is more like "Gas, Grass or WIFI Hotspot" now.

Pearl said...

Fred, I have performed the same service for Willie.

Georgina, I know! What's up with us making these rules for ourselves? Wait -- it's the money, isn't it? Dagnab it...

Simply, I would've gotten the same thrill, I think.
And I loved that scene in GWTW. I could relate to that...

Bossy Betty said...

I vote for buying something new. What's all this common sense about? Stop it! Hope the cat makes your dinner and gives you a back massage as well.

Pearl said...

Betty, thank you, ma'am.

And yes. The cat gives a mean massage. :-D

Sweet Cheeks said...

I had to laugh reading Simply Suthern's comment because I've watched the real movie GWTW...but I can never get out of my mind when Carol Burnett (back in the day) spoofed that scene on her comedy show. She majestically walked down the stairs wearing the curtains...with the curtain rod still attached. OMG, I laughed until I cried over that.
=]
ps
Go ahead...I give you permission to buy something totally unneeded. There, guilt free shopping.

Fragrant Liar said...

I vote for your parents reinstating your allowance. Buy Liza Bean Bitey something while you're out. And me. I could use a screwy lewy jar opener. And a low-cut sun dress.

KleinsteMotte said...

Could it be that crazy back to school thing that's surfacing? I believe you should buy something new. No remorse needed.

Douglas said...

I, too, have refrained. Yet that Lincoln calls to me each time I pass the car dealer...


It is some satisfaction that I have taken the high road, the proper thing to do. And no one hears me weep into my pillow.

Pearl said...

Oh, Douglas, I believe we've hit upon it, haven't we? O, why do we suffer when there's no reward?! That's right-- I want a reward for NOT going shopping. :-)

Sweet Cheeks, I am with you. :-) The vision of Scarlett comes only moments before the one of Carol Burnett. I do miss a clean and nutty variety show...

Fragrant, now I believe we could help each other out here... Not with the jar, but I do have a low-cut sun dress or two that are dying to move on...

KleinsteMotte, perhaps that's it. :-) Maybe I need one new outfit... (and then, see, the voice in my head says, but Pearl! You'll be pulling out your winter clothes in just a month or two, and they will all SEEM new to you, since you haven't seen them since April!)

Sarah said...

They don't call it lipstick economy for nothing. Indulge a little - we all need it once in a while, so enjoy it.

a Broad said...

I guess I should tell you now that Pup has been receiving emails from someone named Liza Bean and they do mention cheesy paperback novels.

I end up buying things like Lipstick and skin lotions that smell good.
I imagine people will wonder when I am dead and gone and someone is cleaning out the cupboards... "why did she have a 5 year supply of body lotion?"

Jon in France said...

I haven't bought clothes for about eight years now. I kid you not. I aways seem to have masses of them though.

Today I tidied through some long-unregarded drawers and found two tops I had no idea I owned.

Perhaps my wardrobe is at the exit end of some kind of freak worm hole in space.

Worries me sometimes.

Symdaddy said...

The way to go on a spending spree, enjoy yourself and to feel no shame for your actions is simple ... just go out and buy something for me!

Anything expensive ... I'm not fussy.

Pearl said...

Sarah, this is why I like you.

A Broad, well that lousy cat. :-) That's it! I'm taking that leopard print rhinestone collar back!!

Jon in France, now that you mention it, I'm a bit worried, too. Amused, but worried. I'd keep an eye on that wardrobe if I were you.

Symdaddy, :-) Thanks for the laugh. I shall keep an eye out for something not too expensive. Perhaps a shrubbery! (ancient Monty Python reference, for all you youngsters out there)

KT said...

I definitely have those urges too. I try to only buy something small or something that I truly NEED when I do it though. I haven't shopped for anything personal in a while because we have been doing too much shopping for our new house.

Sam Liu said...

Indeed, we all have those sudden urges to buy, buy buy, spend, spend, spend. No person is free from the merciless reigns of Western consumerism! :D

a Broad said...

LOL, "Shrubbery ??"
F*ting in your general direction, go buy lipstick and leave lip prints everywhere you go

Cheeseboy said...

I bet the women on the Titanic wore those leggings that they wore in the 80's to do aerobics... because it was cold and styles do come back in fashion.

Herding Cats said...

The urge to shop is strong. Resist the force.

Gigi said...

How did I miss this post earlier?? I'd tell you to resist - but I can't. I'm that little devil whispering in your ear, "But Pearl, you NEED that enameled flower pin. And look! These shoes match it just perfectly!"

Yeah, I may end up under the bridge - but dammit! I will be accessorized!

Casey Freeland said...

I know the feeling dear Pearl. For me it's Best Buy, an expensive impulse to be sure. It's two blocks from my work and sometimes I can feel it pulling on my guts. Hard. Luckily it's only sometimes. Or my kids would not eat.

Cheers,

Casey

Ms Sparrow said...

Yes! I too have wild impulses generated by my inner child to buy myself something really super.
Or, maybe dye my hair red and shock the socks off of all and sundry. I usually just settle for buying some new glasses at the Unique Thrift Store. I'm boring like that.

diane rene said...

OMGosh!! were you eavesdropping on my brain the other day? I wake up like that too and poor hubby! the man can sense this itch and he, in turn, wakes up with a nervous twitch and the constant need to call and check the balances on our credit cards.

that being said, do you also get very crabby when you have this itch to shop and can't find a darn thing you WANT to buy?? I spiral into a deep depression when this strikes.

W.C.Camp said...

I'm not sure catnip was in the original saying but I guess it is as good as any herb? Wish my wife would up my allowance, I hate always having to miss the ice cream truck! W.C.C.

CatLadyLarew said...

I'm not a big shopper, but there are certain things that become like crack once they get in my brain... gotta have them! (Currently an ipad, which I definitely can not afford!)

Gaston Studio said...

Just go buy something and get it over with.