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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Balancing Acts

"I'm concerned about people walking around without some means of emergency cash. But we all agree what an emergency is, and a shoe sale at Nordstrom is not."-MSN Money

Last November I lost my job. But it was ok then, because a) it wasn’t my fault and b) I was still in college and had just finished this great feat of working 50 hours a week and taking 13 credits-just for shits and giggles. I ended that semester with a 3.4. The following semester I went to Madrid and squandered all of my money away on wine and travel to Amsterdam, Morocco and just generally gallivanting through Spain. When I say squandered I mean, that every last dime was gone before my mother arrived for spring break to Majorca. She came equipped with Suze Orman’s book for the “Young Fabulous & Broke”.

I arrived back to DC in May, unemployed but thankfully there was that graduation money. Then I discovered that Anthropologie makes things above a size 6 and well…you know.

Then she cut me off. My own mother, cut me off.

I have very few memories of me not being able to get things that I wanted. I asked for it, I usually got it. Not because I was spoiled, but because thankfully my parents could buy me the things I wanted and were willing to let me do what I wanted with my life without being hounded for it. Like college for example-that shit isn’t cheap, but it was all taken care of, thanks to my mother. A studio to myself cost the amount of a three bedroom luxury apartment in Albany. My rent cost more than my parent’s mortgage. Holy Shit. And while doing this, we traveled, golfed, and bought homes in Martha’s Vineyard. We did all the things that good middle class African Americans do (I hate to admit it but there was even Jack and Jill, I stopped myself at becoming a Delta or AKA). I was introduced to coach and good shoe shopping. And that you have to just do things sometimes to make yourself happy.

Now I’ve been cut off. I get nervous on those occasions when I have to ask for money, because deservedly so, my parents can deny me. I can’t freely go shopping. Brief digression; for my 19th birthday I received a platinum card. My mother is a very smart woman, but good Lord. To this day I contend that purchasing three pairs of $100+ jeans is a necessity.

I have to keep a budget and after two months, I still just barely break even. And this isn’t just me, growing up nicely and then being cut off. It’s an epidemic! Parents who bring you up in this nice and comfortable lifestyle, suddenly saying; “That’s it kid. We’re over.” I for one was devastated. Hell, you’ll still see the affects today. Case in point the conversation with JB yesterday in which I professed that I only had $20 and she had $53:
“Actually $40 I’m saving for Saturday night”
“What’s Saturday night?”
“The Jimmy Buffet concert. I want to be nice and liquored up before I go so I can stay away from the $7 beers”

Maybe I can guilt my mother into letting me hang on a little longer. But probably not.

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