The best kind of money is money I made myself, on my own time, that doesn’t count. It’s not for the house or the groceries or the bills, it’s not share and share alike. It sits in my purse and buys each little caprice.
Getting off the airplane and buying a chai latte and a water right there at the airport instead of choosing one or the other and then buying it at the convenience store thirty minutes later to save 75 cents.
Going into Target and choosing five things from the travel size and sample aisle, Kleenex in a purse pack (not the store brand), lotion that I might not even like, contact lens solution, ibuprofen, handiwipes for my purse, not buying more because there’s nothing that catches my eye.
Sitting in my first choice restaurant and ordering what my body says it wants, extra side of vegetables, maybe I won’t even finish, won’t even take it home (though nothing’s great like cold steak at breakfast).
Trashy checkout magazines even though the newpaper’s cheaper.
Not driving across town to save 35 cents a pound, not caring too much if the “regular” pump is out of order, an extra pack of mints at the checkout, not worrying and saving and hoarding every last penny because good people save up for what they want for twenty-five years and bad people call home from the airport, “I’m in Reno, Atlantic City, the Bahamas, I’ll be home in a few days, honey.”
Once she packed us up and took us to her parents, two babies on the plane must have been a nightmare, God only knows what last-minute tickets cost back then. Perhaps if she’d come back after he did, something might have happened.
On my first big road trip, he gave me $100, two fifties, in case of emergency. I didn’t use them when the alternator went, when the head gasket went, when I took the bus from Cleveland to Buffalo and then hitched to Syracuse. My brother flew me home. I still have the fifties, they’re the older kind.
As long as they sit in the back of my planner, I know…something. Maybe someday I’ll know what it is.
That’s why he gambled. That’s why I whore.