|September 28, 2000
David is worried about money.
Therefore, through the process of osmosis and unconscious assimilation and psychically-transmitted *empathy molecules* (not to mention our shared utility bills), so am I.
It isn't just the August long distance bill that's freaking him out. (Sixteen days divided by three visiting teenagers? YOU do the math.) It isn't the bill we received for the broken bedroom window, either, or the malfunctioning doors on the Subaru ...
... or the fact that he has a girlfriend who keeps dropping persistent (albeit incredibly subtle) hints all over the place (size nine! size nine! size nine!) about wanting to get engaged.
I suspect it's all of this stuff put together. Plus his new job.
Today he receives his first paycheck since the ceremonial "promotion" to manager, last month. (The promotion, you may recall, that will actually see him making less money than he did at his previous job on the sales desk.) This morning, as he speculated what his first managerial paycheck will look like, he wasn't sounding as optimistic as usual.
"I took this promotion because it'll look good on my résumé," he said. "But I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stick it out for long." And we both cast a gloomy eye at the stack of bills, sitting on the third shelf of the bookcase.
I can relate. I too accepted a "promotion" that proved to be lots less groovy than I was led to believe it would be. I too said that I would stick it out for a while, just to improve the appearance of my résumé. That was ... how many months ago now? Seventeen? Twenty-seven? Forty-two million, three hundred eighty-seven thousand, six hundred and twenty-one?
Anyway. I'm not going to delve too deeply into specifics here. Every Internet journaler has a list of topics they consider too personal/too beyond their scope/too fudking dull to write about on their website. Money is tops on *my* list, along with politics, bowling, geophysics, my personal dental history. (Plus you're never going to hear about the night I lost my virginity at age fifteen underneath my next-door neighbors' cherry tree in an August thunderstorm, the night before I was due to leave for two weeks at CHURCH CAMP, as cars passed obliviously on the street ten feet away from where my boyfriend and I were laying on top of his stolen Air Force jacket, while ants crawled across my stomach and blades of grass poked into my bare ass -- NOT in a good way -- and I layed there enduring his feeble flailing and wailing, thinking to myself "Geez, this isn't as much fun as I thought it would be." Nope. Not gonna write about that one. Ever.)
Writing about money issues, for me, is tricky.
When things are going badly (read this: when my ceiling is collapsing and I'm eating moldy bread out of the garbage), it sounds like I'm hinting around for somebody to buy me a computer or pay my AOL bill or invite me to the Caribbean. On the other hand, when things are going OK ... when I'm not laying awake at night, wondering how the fudk I'm going to pay my rent ... it sounds like I'm bragging about how "well off" we are. (Even worse: it sounds like the SecraTerri Personal Loan & Finance Company is open for business.)
So I try not to write about money very much, except in the most oblique way once in a while.
But I will say this much: if our current situation is grim enough to make my ordinarily sunny, optimistic boyfriend look me straight in the eyes and say "I'm worried" ... then it's serious.
I will also say this: if this means that *I* am going to have to step in and be the cheerleader in this relationship for the next little while ... the one who says Everything is going to be fine, and This is just a temporary situation: we'll be back on our feet in no time, and I don't need anything right now anyway, Honey ...
... or Here's my check for the phone bill ...
... then somebody hand me the pom-poms. God knows that David has done it for me enough. (He looks really CUTE in that cheerleader skirt, btw.)
And finally, I will say this: I would rather be dirt-poor and eating moldy bread under a collapsed ceiling with David, than sitting on a Caribbean beach with ANYBODY else on the planet. I doubt that it will ever come to that again.
But just in case it does, it's nice to know I won't be doing it alone next time.