Since January 3rd, 2016 when you woke up about 2AM and thought: “sheet (sadly I really do say things like that to myself) the stock market is going to begin to truly crash tomorrow,” you’ve been freaking. And have spent way too much time cursing yourself for not having a spouse——any gender——so you can bounce off ideas, share IRA’s, 401K’s, use every trick available to married people for both retirement plans and Social Security.
You could have lived in an almost mansion here if you had a mate to split the cost of the house, house expenses, and living expenses. Even the city fitness center is set up so that couples get a break.
Being single, and never having lasted ten years in a marriage, is pricey. Very pricey.
You wouldn’t have to be the partner who can fix the cable, search for flood sources, fix things that go wrong––oh that’s all a pipe dream as you specialize in hiring. But hiring costs money, and life is getting pricer and pricer here.
The people you kept in business during the recession have gone onto work for truly rich people. One is building an Elvis style house; (don’t ask, the pictures make you dizzy.)
You knew six months ago the stock market was going to dive——sooner than later but you figured that as long as the dividends and interest keep coming in you would be OK.
But a big part of you was thinking——when the loss is greater than the total dividend for two years, what’s the point? You know you should always listen to that inner voice. You used to always. But these last eight years have been so strange you forget how truly smart you are.
You have gone through every bag lady scenario and as you lived in New York and knew some pretty famous ones——Anne, who The New York Times would profile every once in awhile, immediately comes to mind. She began half––normal but by the last times you saw her she talked to herself——nonsense words that must have made sense to her; defecated on the street, but only when she was on the north side of East 63rd Street. When she was on the south side of the street she was relatively normal.
You had a whole fantasy going about her. In your mind her family had owned an estate on the south side of the street, and she was trying to get home. You gave her your fur coat when it was old and ratty (literally as it was a nutria.) It must have been many sizes too small for her but you rationalized that she could sleep on it. Now you wonder if it satisfied something deep inside your ego.
There was another bag lady on Madison Avenue who freaked you out. When you spent summers in Mexico you saw people who could only walk on their knees because of lack of muscles. This woman walked on her knees as she held a tin containing pencils she sold. You were only in your 20’s and hadn’t had experience with bag people so you felt badly for her. You knew enough to only give her a quarter.
Then one day she stood up and began walking.
You were totally freaked but grew up a lot that day.
Later there was a pretty famous mother with daughter who begged on Fifth and 57th Street. You told people you were with not to give her money——something was off and the girl probably wasn’t even her daughter.
Somebody at The New York Times had the same idea and did an expose. You assume that’s what it’s called when the most loved bag lady is exposed for taking somebody else’s kid to work with her. And it was work. She made more than you did; considerably more.
You wouldn’t make a very good bag lady. You need creature comforts such as a good bed, a bathroom with a stand alone shower, books, and apparently a large screen TV, and 2,000 channels of cable that only have about four programs that are on your “can’t live without” list. It goes without saying that life without the Internet is unthinkable. You must have an iMac laptop because they’re the only ones you understand.
You also must have an iPhone, and for reasons you don’t completely understand a high resolution iPad. The only debt you do is Apple because they don’t charge you interest and you pay everything off long before the interest—free part of the deal runs out. Obsessive, you’re totally obsessive when it comes to bills.
You must have friends who want to go out with you, and travel with you. Friends were always important to you, and you knew that you are lucky in friendship.
As you get older you’re thinking of how you can live in a quasi––commune with friends. Privacy yet company. That would be like winning a billion dollar lotto!
You don’t do RV’s. Not out of dislike but because until you began blogging you never really heard of them. Well, you did but you never paid attention to them.
On the other hand you’re an expert at upgrading to an ocean front suite–one had a 180% view of the Pacific. It was beyond amazing.
You can talk any airline as long as it’s Delta into letting you upgrade to first or business without paying or using the requisite amount of miles. When Delta screws up, they screw up badly and want to appease you.
The past two weeks, three days was like watching a train wreck you’re in from above but you weren’t at all peaceful.
You were filled with questions, all aimed at tormenting you. You would sleep two or three hours a night and then wake up——totally wake up as in “I have to get out of bed. I must.”
Your heating stopped working. Since it’s a new HVAC system you assumed whatever was wrong would be covered by the warranty. Ha!
Apparently an HVAC system has its own circuit breaker so it can bypass the main one. It’s not part of the system nor is it changed when you get a new HVAC.
In the immortal words of the tech: “it fried.” $250 worth of frying.
You’ve had two dentist appointments; and a whole lot of winter house upkeep maintenance.
You should have bought a new pricer house closer to the ocean or on the Intercoastal. You wouldn’t have had to renovate everything, and maintaining it would have been a hell of a lot easier.
A townhouse in a gated community with pools, lakes and community centers would have been even better. The HOA you were so set against (hell, living in a Manhattan coop where the monthly charges tripled in ten years would do that to anybody) include insurance. Homeowners insurance! South Carolina wind & hail only accepts checks and only checks for the full amount. No $5.00 service fee for quarterly checks. It’s your single largest expense. Then there’s flood insurance (FEMA, yeah!——cheapish) and regular homeowner
On the other hand you love your house even if for the first time in your adult life you’re living with low ceilings and small rooms. In New York you didn’t have many rooms but the living area was always large and the ceilings high.
You began this post on Wednesday. Later that day you had an epiphany. You have a paid off house, no debt except for the no interest Apple that you can pay off in a second if you wanted to——but you’re doing this partially to keep your credit rating up there in case you need to rent or something….you don’t do margin nor do you short stocks.
You check all your credit cards everyday and pay them. That way you never think of a credit card as a money making card. It’s cash, simply, cash.
What did you do before the Internet? You really can’t remember.
You can afford a vacation(s) or some other things you really want to do.
When you were young you didn’t think you were responsible. But something was happening——you were learning to be a responsible adult.
While you will never forget the day the man in the bank cut your credit card (that you should have never been given) that was 23 year old you. And 23 year old you had been dealing with very adult problems.
25 year old you moved back to New York and really really really tried. There were glitches but….
Now you live too tethered to the stock market. You don’t know who to be angry at for the state of the economy so you take the easy way out, and spend your angry time being angry at Donald Trump who you know won’t save it.
Nobody can call you “frugal.” You find “frugal” blogs to be entertaining because most get so much wrong. Let them. Not your problem.
Because you had the big realization and a few good nights of sleep:
You’re probably never going to be a bag lady.