They say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and there are days when that thought scares me just a bit.
Actual cell phone conversation dramatically transcribed for your enjoyment…from memory…three days later:
[Standing in front of the iPod display at Target]
Me: I came to Target to get some ear buds.
Me: I’m in the electronics section.
Me: [silence except for the kids making motorboat noises in the cart]
Me: I thought I would look for a cheap, like disposable-cheap, MP3 player. You know how they had those the day after Thanksgiving?
Me: They don’t really have any of those today.
Me: They have iPods. Remember how I want an iPod Nano but we can so not afford one right now but I said I didn’t like the Shuffle because it was lame?
Me: It may be lame but it’s only $70 and that doesn’t seem like much since we spent that amount buying garage floor cleaner last week that didn’t even work and we spend that much buying useless widgets and scrub brushes at Home Depot practically every day since we bought the house.
Me: I’ve worked out 3 days in a row. It gets so boring without tunes.
Dan: Would it be way too geeky to take a portable CD player with you to the gym?
Me: That would be like carrying a ghetto-blaster on my shoulder when I ride the bus.
Dan: [laughing the I-can’t-believe-you-just-called-it-a-ghetto-blaster-and-since-when-do-you-ride-the-bus? laugh]
Me: I’m not asking you to tell me to buy it. I know we don’t have the money and I really want the other more expensive one anyway so I’d never be happy even though this one would be really nice right now.
Me: I just want it.
Me: I just really kind of want it.
Dan: Some guys just came in and I need to help them with something.
Me: Yeah, you should work.
Me: I just want it, you know?
And I hang my head in shame remembering that the little sponges in the big red cart witnessed all of this. I have worked really hard to teach them the difference between needs and wants.
Finding a potty when “it’s coming, it’s coming, aaahhhh” = need.
Finding an electric pony when you just really feel like a good ride = want.
Bread, peanut butter, and ketchup-sauce to render any food edible = need.
Fruit snacks, cereal, and filet-mignon shaped like the left earlobe of your favorite Disney princess = want.
I really want/need the kids to grow up to be people who do not feel fulfilled by stuff, who don’t buy in to the get-it-now culture that constantly bombards them. I want them to live free of pressure to be like the “cool” kids and always have the latest toys and games, to know that their real worth comes from who they are and how they treat other people. As adults, I want them to be responsible with money and free from excessive debt.
What does it show them when I stand like a brat whining and drooling in front of an item I don’t need and can’t afford? The truth is, we’re so freshly signed to this new mortgage that we really don’t know what we can or cannot afford and we’re spending money like crazy trying to get the house fixed up so we can live in it comfortably. Today is not the day for the buying of the iPod.
Now I know this. If I did not know this, I would have purchased the iPod instead of having a 10 minute conversation with Dan about it, wherein I tried to trick him into pressuring me into buying it so I had no choice but to cave in and indulge.
I’m sort of hoping the guy at my gym who drives the Beemer with the vanity plates that say something redundant like THS CAR IZ XPENSIV will see me on the elliptical trainer with my ghetto-blaster on my shoulder, take pity and decide to buy me an iPod next month instead of paying to renew his plates.
Blog out! I’ve gotta go make me a mix tape.