Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Shopping Carts Win

In which our Heroine is soundly beaten by a Pair of Boots. 

Today at Costco, I found some rain boots in Eva’s next size.  Happy thoughts of splashing in puddles with my delighted daughter filled my apparently vacuous head.  These thoughts pestered me—eventually developing hands, nails, and teeth, which pulled and yanked on various parts of my psyche until I was thoroughly inundated.  I became powerless—a mindless automaton with a membership card aslew in a sea of temptation.   I was quite suddenly gripped with the immediate need to put these boots (which were decorated with a painted-on smile and two bulging eyeballs) into my cart.  In a feverish battle with my financial sense, the boots won.  They cheerfully kicked the monetary smarts right out of my head, where they landed with a splat on the ground.  Then I flattened my fiscally good intentions with my over-sized cart in a frantic move toward the women’s wool socks section.
All right, I know you’re going to roll your eyes at me on this one, but here’s the thing: ever since surgery, I’ve developed a serious budgeting problem.  I blame a lot of things on my cancer—some more successfully than others—and I hesitate to really hold my brain’s recent issues responsible for my financial difficulties, but the bare, ugly, stripped-down truth is this: Before surgery, I kept a carefully documented budget; After surgery, this budget went to the dogs, so to speak.  I might as well toss my bulging receipt folder into the wind for all the good it is doing me these days. 
I truly believe myself capable of using a budget.  Despite all indications, I can still add.  In fact, I never actually had a problem with calculations at all, because those happen on the left side of the brain.  I do have “water on the brain,” but only on the right side.  Besides, even if my long division has never been my strong point, there are calculators for these oh-so-boring (but unfortunately not mindless) tasks.  Oh no—my brain can handle it.  Let us say rather that I seem to be experiencing a loss of my ability to care.  It’s like I used to have my money tied up firmly with a good stout rope—so much so that it felt like a noose sometimes—and now I’ve loosened the knot and my change is literally falling out of my pockets.  I imagine pennies and nickels (or hundred dollar bills), bouncing merrily down to the floor somewhere next to those lovely striped wool socks.
As Aesop could have said:
It is possible that man may be at his end,
When size five boots and shopping carts win.

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