On If I Was a Rich Girl
(… na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na)
I have a memory that almost seems like a dream. It was Halloween, and I was in fifth grade. I went trick-or-treating with my parents in the wealthiest neighborhood in the county because they gave out one-pound chocolate bars. As we drove through the entrance of the community, “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani started playing on the radio. It was warm out, and our windows were rolled down. I don’t know why, but I felt like I was in a movie that took place in 1980s Los Angeles. Since then, things have never been the same.
I have a really bad habit of losing things. Actually, I have a really bad habit of losing money. It seems that I most often lose it at the mall, at the nail salon, and on zappos.com. I also, coincidentally, lose a lot of money at Urban Outfitters sales and at this one thrift store in Brooklyn. And at the bagel store where I get my chopped salad…… and at any fro-yo place I have yet to try (because I obviously have to try every fro-yo place in the world, duh).
I think that I have a pretty strong obsession with saving money. But because I “lose” it so much, my mom’s response to this thought is that I’m a blatantly pathological liar who needs a reality check. (Shoutout to the babe who also said I needed a reality check via Facebook status. Like, come on. Everyone knows that shit-talking stays on Twitter. At least have the decency to subtweet like a classy young lady). But, it’s true. I do have an obsession with money, just in a sort of twisted way. I’m never greedy, and I’m always willing to spot a friend. But when I’m not making enough of my own money, I get anxiety. I spend my free-thought time thinking about the money I could be making when I’m studying or hanging out with friends.
So, this year, I got a job. Actually, I got three. I’ve been tutoring and babysitting since I was in eighth grade. For a few months this year, I was tutoring for two hours a day, Monday to Friday. Then I would give up either Saturday or Sunday to babysit. I received a job offer working for a camp and summer program consulting agency that I did not want to pass up on; so, I added that to my plate. Before I knew it, this (see below) was literally my schedule. And I am not exaggerating one bit:
2:30pm – 6pm Work at consulting business
6:15pm – 7:15pm Tutor student #1
7:15pm – 8:15pm Tutor student #2
8:30pm – 9pm Eat dinner
9:30pm Start studying/working
6am the next day… Wake up
I was making a really good amount of money every week, and I stopped having nightmares in which Oscar de la Renta was making me work in a sweat shop in order to let me wear his Strapless Floral-Applique Ball Gown and then PSY would come in and make me listen to Gangnam Style until I was able to sing the Korean part fluently. Let me tell you, it was HORRIBLE. But, working felt worth-it and rewarding. My bad dreams were gone and so was the pit in my stomach that ached for money. Call me crazy because I’m crazy. I know.
They say that dogs are a man’s best friend. Well, let me tell you: credit cards are a woman’s best friend. Imagine having invisible money that grows on trees. What do you get? A credit card. You also get a really bad credit score but I’m still too young to convince myself that it’s time to worry about that. And while I love credit cards, they scare the hell out of me. Even though I have my own checking account and my own card, along with the emergency one supplied by Mommy and Daddy, and even though my checking account is solely funded by me and the income that I make from my wide array of jobs, I am afraid to use the card. It’s not like the account balance is under $7 (at the moment…. what??) and it’s not that I don’t know how to use a credit/debit card–trust me, I very well do–I just don’t like the idea of not being able to see what I’m spending. Then, I start to get nervous.
When I told my mom about this, her response was that I opened up a checking account so that I could use the money. That’s the point of it, she said. Well, I’m still afraid and I don’t really know why.
Maybe it has to do with our economy? When we first hit recession, I was too young and too concerned with my first MySpace profile to really understand what was going on. I can openly admit that even now, I only comprehend the stock market a small percentage of the time. Our planet revolves around money. So when I spend, I feel like I’m going to fall off of Earth. It’s a bittersweet and guilty feeling, really. To put it in Jewish terms, it’s something similar to the first day of your last year of sleepaway camp. You don’t want it to start because you don’t want it to end. I don’t want to start using my debit card because I don’t want to lose all of the money I saved in there, too.
By the time I turn 25, I feel like the lifestyle I want won’t even exist. How will I possibly be able to afford a studio apartment in New York City that is, at most, the size of my current closet? Note: my current closet is very short of a walk-in.
It is fifteen years after the first episode of Sex and the City came out, and just recently did people start to question just how Carrie Bradshaw was able to own just that many pair of Manolos. Imagine how far-fetched her lifestyle will seem by the time I’m old enough to really be living it. Carrie wannabes like myself–we’re all screwed.
Maybe I should close my checking account.