Monday, September 19, 2005

Five Dollars.

Last night, my husband came out of his study after making an examination of our finances. "Let's not write any more checks until we get paid, all right?" he said. "Unless you can think of anything we might need to write a check for."

Let's see, I thought:

We get paid on Thursday. Today I spent $2.24 at Wendy's (diet Coke, french fries) and $0.42 at Wild Oats (filtered water refill). I have about $5.16 in my wallet, give or take a few cents. Here are some things I think I might need to write checks for, beforeThursday:
  1. limes
  2. the New York Times
  3. a brown corduroy skirt
  4. a beaded belt
  5. caramel colored trousers
  6. snacks
  7. miscellaneous other stuff

Obviously, I don't need to buy any of this stuff before Thursday, not even the limes. But I feel a slight sense of panic, so I go into stores to take a look at the stuff. Then, I don't buy it. I'm sure that there's a discourse of late capitalism that has inscribed me, but I don't really want to hear about it. This brief moment of panicky clarity has suggested to me that I may need a moratorium on stuff.

In a related development, I had the fleeting but recurring thought that I should probably curtail my late night sitcom watch, which is what I use to ease myself into sleep. It doesn't last for hours, but it starts pretty late. I'd like to be one of those yoga-doing, centered, non-material girls; instead, I'm a sitcom-watching, stuff-buying American. Here I am.

Luckily, we didn't have the check-writing moratorium before I bought a pound or two of purple plums this weekend at the farmer's market, which I turned into a delectable plum galette. What a lovely phrase--plum galette. It's fortunate that there is leftover plum galette to ease me through three more days (!) with only five dollars to my name.


  1. 1) you escaped Wild Oats having spent only 0.42 cents? 2) I sympathize with the sense of want inspired by budgeting.

  2. I am currently on a stuff-buying moratorium, which was prompted in part by my sister S. calling me a "product whore." But what else are you going to do during a summer of post break-up blues, but shop? (especially when you're teaching and have extra money). The moratorium was supposed to be through September, but I think I'm going to extend it since I cheated with the purchase of a) a printer and b) one book. But there is something rather liberating about it. If only I could give up the tv.

  3. $5 and three days? Welcome to my world. You know you are in a world of hurt when you actually use the small change in your purse...

  4. I finally paid Son back for the three dollars (in birthday money!!!) we took from his blue piggy bank at some point this summer so we could all go to a dollar movie. My dad gave me some "congratulations on your job!" money, so I bought myself some shoes! I'm a product whore!!!



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