May 18th, 2009


Justify My Debt

It's a little over 8,200 in my locked-interest loan with Wells Fargo

And a little under 2,900 in my zero-interest (for now) credit card with Bank of America

And there's the small issue with the 1,700 I racked up on my Nordstrom card, thanks to the 700 for my recent eye exam/new prescription/brand new fancy designer prescription sunglasses that were probably way more than I should have spent but God DAMN do they ever look good on me, and of course my over-expenditures in New Orleans (not even counting the money I still owe in cash and hotel expenses).

Let's just round it up to 13,500 and call it a day. That's where we stand; April wasn't my most frugal month.

When you spread the debt around to various institutions and people, it doesn't seem as bad. Sure, I owe a little here and a little there; no big deal. Then, you add it all up and it really smacks you in the mouf.

Some people can look at the 13-grand that they owe and know where it all went. That's a school loan; that's what I owe for my new car; that's what I owe Fat Tony for the Mariners/Red Sox game and he'll break my legs if he doesn't see two grand plus points by Friday.

I look at my 13-grand and, to be honest, it's hard to figure out where it all went!

Actually, it's probably not all that crazy to figure out. The vehicle took up somewhere between 8 and 10 grand of that.

But, if you think of my debt as an ebbing and flowing oceanic mass dating back to ... good lord, 2004! That's a solid five years' worth of purchases. How much of that amounts to shit I didn't need, never would need, and indeed grew to regret? How much of that built up during various terms of unemployment, when my motto seemed to be: Spend Like You've Got The Job To Pay This Shit Off?

If I'm going to think about it like that, though, then I have to throw all the Good in there as well. How many things have I done, places have I seen in this time? Costa Rica, Canada, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Texas, New Orleans, and a massive 3-week road trip through six western states. The festivals and individual concerts and sporting events and comedy shows and bars and the people I've met and the stories I've compiled.

There's been a little lifetime in these five years, and I'd rather think of it like I'm paying off THOSE things. Some people have higher education or a new Prius (or a new Kia), I've got a bunch of kickass random shit that I can look back on.

You know what you always hear from Married People? Stay single. It's their stock answer to you for questions you've never asked. They're having money trouble: stay single. They get into an argument: stay single. One spouse doesn't have time to go out and do fun stuff: stay single. Mostly, they just say it in jest, because if they really believed it, they'd get a fucking divorce and stop boring you with their problems. Obviously, married people are still married because they like it.

You know what I like? Going on weekend vacations where I have friends. Going to 3-day festivals. Drinking all night with family and/or friends. Having the apartment to myself from time to time.

Essentially, I like having no one to answer to. I rather enjoy not thinking about someone else's feelings. I delight in going off by myself or spending entire days saying less than 30 words.

I look back on my debt and all my experiences and all the crap I own and I wonder where I'd be right now if I had been with someone the entire time. I wouldn't have done even a quarter of what I've accomplished. Hell, probably not even a tenth.

On Mother's Day I went down for an afternoon to Tacoma to take my mom out to Red Lobster. After that, we went to my grandmother's house to watch the Mariners game. My grandfather (via marriage, but he's the only one I've ever known on my mom's side) said something very curious and I couldn't tell if he really meant it or if he was just angry about something. He said, pretty much out of the blue, "You know, if I had it to do all over again, I never would've had children." And then he grumbled something about how they don't care about you unless they want something from you.

I couldn't tell if this was genuine or if it was just standard Old Man Speak, but it hit home with me.

The big thing about people getting married is starting a family. Plowing your wife and knocking her up two or three times. Children are supposed to be the big accomplishment. Whether you've done something with your life or not, you can always have children and put all your hopes and dreams into them. If they're successful, then your life has been a success. It's supposed to be this rewarding experience that no parent would ever trade for anything in the world.

And here my grandfather was saying he would easily trade the whole shebang for a bag of Louisville Sluggers and some batting donuts.

I don't think it's the responsibility of having a family that turns me off to the whole thing. It's the loss of freedom.

See, I can go five plus years with varying degrees of debt that never really comes all that close to going away, because I have the freedom to do so. I don't have to save for anything. I can afford to live on my own, make my monthly payments, and throw a little something onto the cards if I have to because I know that I'm in no way In Over My Head.

If things were different, if I had the wife and the kids, then my debt would be seriously crippling. And a little thing like Sasquatch wouldn't be anywhere near my radar.