Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Those were the days

I was discussing wedding gifts with a friend, and suddenly, boom, out of the blue I remembered scraping together the 50 bucks to buy two stems of crystal for the bosses daughter (I worked at a small jewelery store at that time). I mean SCRAPE was the word for it, I made 200 a week and was single parent.

I could kick myself in the metaphorical ass for that stunt now. WHY did I do that? Why did it matter so much to me that my gift be on par with all the rich kids? And we can't demonize the hapless bride, she was surprised at the gift and in no way expected it from me-she knew how much I made.

No, it was all me, wanting to keep up with the Joneses, or in my case, the Blacks. Because, I suppose, I am clever, I always end up making my living in a world where I really don't fit in-however I CAN do the work quite well. And dang it, I LIKE to be able to pay the bills.

So, even though I get a big kick out of Aerosmith's Eat the Rich, it's us, the wanna be's who bring much of our angst on ourselves. We base our needs on what other people have rather than what we really want.

I, personally, have had a dining room table since the 80's when my daughter, in a fit of teenage anxiety wailed "We're not normal, we don't have a dining room table.....", so, I got one, a big black laquer octagon (shudder) and some black and gold laquer chairs....Chinese Food anyone?"

Many tables later I have an antique Oak dropleaf that is currently sitting out in my sunroom. I had that table for 2 years before I ever unwrapped it and I've probably sat at it 4 times...but by the GODS I have a dining room table. Truly, I spent more time recovering the seats than I have ever spent sitting on them.

To complicate things, I actually like the little table-it's well made, well behaved, I had to go buy a pick up truck in order to haul it down from Sherman, Tx. after I bought it.....we have history, that table and I. But, does it serve a functional purpose in my home? Not really. And do I sit around and thing "gee, what a nice table?"- rarely. I would be better served buying some sturdier TV trays.

And it's not a matter of "it's to nice to use" because I am really not like that. It's just not convenient and it doesn't fit in my life. But, if I get rid of it, people will know I don't have a dining room table kind of life.

And who are these "people" anyway? Sadly, in Dallas people really do sit around and discuss their furniture with co-workers, as well as their new cars, current address and how much their house has appreciated even in a lukewarm market. But is it really appropriate? I try to avoid those conversations, because I think they are in part how people end up head over heels in debt.

So, if I don't talk the talk, why do I still keep the table?

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