They warned us: Before long, we’d all feel the effects of this recession. Now it’s happened to me. I haven’t lost my job. No evicted family members have shown up at my door. In truth, the financial crisis hasn’t yet walloped my wallet.
But it’s messing with my mind. Feeling the economy slowly constrict around our national lifestyle, I find myself in a spend-not panic: Would you like to see the dessert menu? Sigh, better not. Valet parking? Don’t be ridiculous.
Call me a brat, but it starts to piss me off. Is this the end of life’s small pleasures? A friend of mine relinquished her daily Starbucks cappuccino (extra shot of espresso, single pump of caramel) in favor of boring, home-brewed joe in a thermos.
“How bad is it,” she lamented, “when a girl can’t even have a little cup of fancy-pants coffee?”
But I had a recent revelation while driving my car and listening to an old song, appropriately, by Squeeze. I was blissing out on those endorphins that come from singing loudly to ’80s music when my guilt-check clicked on: This feels too good. Is it naughty? Is it wasteful, extravagant, thriftless? Am I somehow squandering money that, as soon as next week, could stand between my children and a bowl of pork-flavored ramen noodles?
And then a shocking jolt of relief: No. This euphoria? This is free.