Thursday, October 2, 2003

Somebody Stop Me

I am having trouble with money lately: I can't seem to live my current lifestyle with my current salary.

When I decided, some months ago, that I could afford to buy a new car, I was fooling myself. Even though my payments are only $260, and my insurance is only $20 more than it was for the Volvo, it is the endless repetition of that added expense, without respite, that is getting me down.

When I owned elderly cars, huge things would go wrong with them, incurring huge expenses... but this only happened once or twice a year. Now, though nothing ever goes wrong with Miss Jane (aside from that little accident, and the expense of constantly duct-taping the side-view mirror back on), the expense hits the bank account every month, right on schedule, over and over and over again. On top of that is the down-payment that is still sitting on my credit-card, a card that is going to start charging interest in a few months.

The thing is, with the old cars I would get hit with an expense and would therefore have to quit shopping for a month or two. But with this endlessly repeated expense, I find myself in a difficulty... for the last three pay cycles I have overdrawn my checking account within a week of having my paycheck deposited (I get paid every two weeks). I've put nothing in savings and have been only making minimal payments on my credit card. Twice I've had to borrow money from Grandmother, and once took a cash advance on my credit card (which isn't getting paid down) in order to keep my checking account afloat... so not only am I not saving, I'm actually sinking farther into debt by about $300.

I've tried budgeting myself, but I have yet to be able to stay within my budget... and then when I go on these shopping binges, the budget goes right out the window. Like the recent binge in which I spent over a hundred dollars on a single fur piece on which I was only willing to spend sixty. A hundred dollars that I just today had to borrow from Grandmother so that when my car-insurance autopayment hits the bank account on Monday it won't bounce. Just because I had to have a black fur for my Griselda von Beitte-Meihasse outfit, at any cost, right now, and some stupid cunts on eBay kept outbidding each other (but I swooped in and snatched it at the last minute, which makes me a cunt, too).

So it's the shopping that is causing my trouble. Or rather, the shopping in concert with the new car. I'm used to shopping in binges, it's what I've always done. I'm not used to having monthly car payments and credit-card payments. I'm also used to getting fairly regular raises, often with retroactive lump-sums, which I'm not getting this year. I'm not used to being a responsible adult who moderates his pleasures to suit his income.

I don't know why I'm babbling on about this, except that it's worrying me, and I find writing about these things has a cathartic effect. Doesn't solve the problem, but it does lance the feelings caused by the problem.

In other news, I am also unable to quite rid my mind of the dream I had early this morning and am remembering with bizarre and unwonted clarity. For some reason, in this dream, I was being interviewed for the BBC by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Somehow or other, I had become a member of the Royal family, but I did not find out what, exactly, had happened to Elizabeth, Charles, William, or the hundreds of other people currently in line to the Throne of Great Britain and Ireland. Maybe I was Harry (who's looking quite yummy these days, even if The National Inquirer is questioning his paternity with side-by-side photographs of the young prince compared to the late Princess of Wales' personal bodyguard), or one of the lesser Windsor, Ogilvy, or Lascalle boys, which would have explained things nicely.

The interview was taking place in a really quite grand room of black-oak panelling and free-standing bookcases, with Palladian archways and screens and windows, and a barrel-vaulted Adam ceiling. It's a real room that I've seen in books but I'm not sure which room it was. Tony Blair had brought in these two bright-blue leather wing-chairs, the shade of blue used in bluescreen filming, and they assorted ill with the elegant gallery-like room... and I teased Tony for bringing those clashing chairs into "one of the most beautiful rooms in England."

There were no mirrors in the room, but I felt my face and discovered that I hadn't shaved in some time... and since I wanted to be taken seriously as a writer rather than just as some dilettante royal (and in fact I said so to Mr. Blair, it was the reason for submitting to the interview along with a number of other well-known celebrity writers who were there in the room, queueing up for their turn in the blue chair), I felt I ought to shave. So I happened to have a straight-razor in my pocket (maybe that's what happened to the other royals), and started shaving with a paper cup of tea-water and no mirror, feeling my way as I stood in line behind James Earl Jones. Then I woke up.

I'm not sure why I shared that with you, and I have absolutely no clue what any of it means. Any dream-analysts in the audience? Feel free to leave a comment... PLEASE leave a comment! Hardly anyone ever comments anymore.

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