Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Was Your Day?

Why, thank you for asking.

I was walking home from the local shops aka the 'lifestyle precinct' in real-estate-speak and I was having a conversation with myself about various things in which, I'm sure, you're all terribly interested.

My thoughts were prompted by the amount I'd just spent up at the lifestyle precinct. It was just a small shop at the green grocers and bottle shop, but I was aware that only two days before I had spent a similar sum, a bit more, just at the supermarket and, all together, it seemed rather a lot for one person to be spending on sundries for the week.

I got to thinking about the situation in metaphorical terms. Once I was telling my sister about the experience of sitting next to this woman at the cinema who seemed, every now and then, to breathe rather heavily. I wondered if something was wrong with her, but my sister informed me that the woman's breathing pattern was quite standard: apparently every fourth or fifth breath we take is deeper and longer than the preceding three or four. My sister explained the reasons for this to me, but I admit I forget. Something to do with oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanges no doubt.

As I was walking along with my cold bag, filled with wine and fruit and vegetables, hitched over my shoulder, I likened this week's rather large shop to that fourth or fifth breath; it was bigger than the preceding three or four shops but it was part of a necessary pattern. This week, if I didn't buy coffee, I would run out mid-week, and that's not a situation in which I like to find myself when I wake up. So, I guess I'd run out of various other staples at the same time--yes, wine is a staple--and they needed to be replenished. This week was the fifth breath.

These thoughts led me to others about spending money. I don't mean to sound materialistic or mercenary but these things tend to preoccupy you when your income isn't regular. You're always trying to make sure you have a buffer for the lean times, which for me tend to be between semesters. You tend to feel somewhat anxious if you believe you're spending money out of turn. The money you intend to get you through those times when no income or a reduced income is coming in cannot be spent while you're still receiving a fortnightly pay statement.

I've had this feeling quite a bit lately. The money I've been saving for those figurative rainy days has been needed with nerve-wracking frequency. Brisbane may still be in the midst of a drought, but I've been bailing out the boat all year:

I've had to buy lounge chairs, two coffee tables that serve as a television and stereo unit, a fridge, a washing machine, and a laptop computer. Today I bought a printer. I also picked up my new spectacles. They were not cheap. Not because I got some fancy frames, but because my eyesight is so appalling the lenses alone cost $510.

Goodness, I'm practically hyperventilating. You see why I need wine.

Ah, well I could go on. There's lots more I could say, but enough about me. Would you like a glass of wine?

How was your day?


Ariel said...

Yes, have some wine. Your cash ruminations make me feel anxious. And I've just starting carrying a household (temporarily) so that my husband can do a particularly heavy uni semester. Sigh. Maybe I need some wine too.

It's the price of interesting work, right?

Kirsty said...

Yes, but sometimes I wish that interesting work and economic security were more closely aligned. Don't we all? Good luck to you in the semester ahead!

Ariel said...

In a word: yes.

Surely, somewhere along the line, economic security just happens.

ThirdCat said...

I know that feeling. When you realise you've just spent an awful lot. But really, you didn't have too many extravagances.

And if you're wearing glasses all the time, you have to have good frames as well as the lenses.

Mark Lawrence said...

ooh, yes please. I could really have done with a glass of wine after my day today.

'the Fifth breath' - what a brilliant line! It so aptly describes what happens so often, and to more people than we think. I get what you are saying - some weeks, the soy sauce runs out the same time as the tomatoe sauce, the last tin of tomoatoes is used, and the washing detergent runs out and on and on ...

But then there are the other types of 5th breathes – where instead of the accumulation of staples running out, you feel like you're going to burst after denying yourself nice things day after day, week after week, and you splurge on (though not necessarily all at once) a nice jacket, or two new CDs, or two blocks of organic fair trade dark chocolate (instead of one) - just so you can let out another breath, but then you spend the rest of the day/week/month feeling guilty and anxious about the splurge and you start scrimping again.

Definitely there's a 5th breath. Great concept for a short story or article. Do you mind if I use it?

Kirsty said...

Go ahead, Mark.