Predictably, we left. At my place, we ate, played L5R for a while, and then started on the beer-filled confessional routine.
I honestly don’t remember how we got there, but at some point Paul started talking about my finances, and seemed very frustrated when he did. See, he thinks I waste money. In fact, he thinks I waste money every time he sees me. His statements stung me, and I got more than a little defensive because the truth is, I do.
He started out with examples: buying the box of SW boosters, talking about getting a couch-like thing to replace the decade-old cast off that currently serves in that role, falling prey to the world of the five gallon jug of Ranch dressing. I countered each in turn.
The booster box purchase was my scheming, mercantile impulse coming to the fore. I saw an opportunity to double the money I’d spent and took it. That I haven’t gone through with the re-sale is depression kicking in. Depression hits me hard enough that I can't bring myself to do the things that I do want to do.
The couch talk is nothing more than a pipe dream. Spending a few hundred bucks on a piece of furniture is quite impossible right now. As I mentioned in reference to getting a proper computer desk, I’m pretty much stuck with the resources I have unless I can find something free or incredibly cheap.
I’ve never bought a five gallon jug of Ranch dressing. I have bought tuna, soup, cereal, toilet paper, and various and sundry dry goods in bulk in an attempt to save money overall. Yes, I can go to BJ’s and easily drop $100, but the last time I did that was weeks ago, and I’m still living on the resultant stockpile.
The trouble is that now my mind is in a maelstrom over this. I keep coming up with examples and rationalizations of why I spend the money that I do. Why did I have to go for the Cirque tickets seven rows back from the stage? Why do I order Belgian beer when I could order something cheap and mass-produced? Why do I hold membership to the Boston Athenaeum? Why do I let my friends wake me up at 8:30AM on Sundays so we can go out for breakfast? These are all luxuries. Strictly speaking, they’re unnecessary and extravagant, and frankly, beyond my means. By all rights, I should sequester myself at home, sell my car, shut off my phone, and eat nothing but ramen noodles to the end of my days.
And I would go mad.
I’m already feeling guilty over every little penny that I spend. I’m re-evaluating my connections to gaming, even though it was through Rings that I started building my current circle of friends. I fight hard to not feel embarrassed or resentful when I’m out with folks with more disposable income than me who decide on the trendy pizza place instead of the cheap Chinese dive. I let myself splurge, I tell myself, because if I didn’t, I would be letting them rob me of my hard-won identity on top of everything else.
Drew summed up the feeling with this: "It might be money from the budget, but first and foremost, it is money for the soul."
I just get so fucking scared sometimes.