Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reality Check

I have a great group of girlfriends here in Denver. They are all active and social and pretty much down-to-earth. There are a few exceptions where the bar for 'down-to-earth' gets adjusted!

But for the most part, we all work hard, play hard and shop hard. Some of us splurge on designer goodies. Some of us troll TJMaxx and Target for bargains. Most of us do both. We all look fabulous! It must be noted.

We get together once a week - on Sundays to watch Desperate Housewives. It may no longer be anyone's favorite show but it is our excuse to get together. There is someone new almost every week. Or at least someone we haven't seen in months!

Last Sunday was the first DH of the new season - and so the first time we've had a Sunday evening together since May. We nibbled on delicious treats for an hour before the show started, chatting and catching up. We talked about our boyfriends, our jobs, our hair color.

A new woman came into the fold. Man did she look smart. Amazingly highlighted hair. Coiffed in a perfect, messy little knot. The sort I can never manage to pull off! She works at some chi chi gallery and her husband is running for a Sen@te Se@t. She seemed fun and friendly.

Until she knocked the wind out of me.

I was telling a little story about how the tiny little TV that my parents bought me when I left for college 20 years ago (the only one I've ever owned) finally blew out the blue tube. The TV still works but the picture is very green and fuchsia. Ha ha. Then there's the converter box I bought to make my TV compatible with the new HD signal - good thing Mr. Burns never got around to hooking it up. Ha ha some more.

The other girls all know me and understand that I use a product of any kind until it is all used up. So they chuckled with me and sympathized that it was time to buy new one. They also know about my employment situation, the latest car drama - everything.

This new woman interjected halfway through my story and said something like... "Oh honey just go buy a new TV. They're so cheap."

I couldn't form my thoughts into words fast enough to respond. My first thought was.... "Lady, you've never been poor have you?" My next thought was, I have a car with driver's side window that doesn't work... which gets priority? A $300 repair or a new TV? Never mind that I still use an antenna! My next thought is... what if I told her I found a similar TV on Craig$list for $10? Would she die of shock?

Even if I could get a HD ready TV for less than $200 - that's a month or two of gas or groceries.
But I keep going back to... "Lady, you have no idea what it is to scrape by do you?"

When we left for the night, she turned to me and said, "We'll have to find a way to get you a new TV sweetie." I said, "Oh, thanks! I'll take all your efforts to find me a job first. "

"Oh." She had no idea what to say.

Now I'm not saying that I don't have respect for this woman, or that she's rude or anything. It's just been a long time since I met someone in my circle who didn't know what it was like to struggle at some point.
And, I'll admit, that's my greatest prejudice. Rich people who have no comprehension of what it's like for the rest of the world.

If your answer is "just go buy it" you are out of touch! I mean at least have the ability to relate to the context. If I haven't replaced a 19 inch TV in 20 years, maybe it's pretty low on my priority list. But maybe that was her point. Buy a TV already!

We obviously have different ideas about discretionary cash.
Lady, I don't even have an iPod! Or a season ski pass. Or skis for that matter. I've been saving for a couch for four years now! Something else always comes up.


erinannie said...

Oh how I know what you mean!
And wish that I didn't!

Lindsay said...

Wow, I think I'm going to go ahead and say that she's rude (even though you're not). Man.

"We'll have to find a way to get you a new TV sweetie"? Seriously? ick.

(I came by from a comment you left on Katie's blog. Apparently, I just stopped by to insult people you know? That doesn't make me sound very nice. I'll do better next time.) ;)

Katie said...


I bet in a month or two she'll get to know you, understand your situation and feel like a total idiot.

As a person who says dumb stuff all the time without thinking I understand what that's like.