Ah, city living!
I thought I was going to graduate, move to a big city and have a cute one bedroom apartment a la Carrie Bradshaw. The reality? Life is expensive. So here I am, living in a 350 square foot box where my bed is within arm’s length of the row of appliances they call a kitchen.
Never in my life did I think I would yearn for things like central air, a dishwasher, a garbage disposal or thicker walls (I’m talking to you 3B). And one Sunday as I awoke to the sounds of 3B enjoying themselves, I decided that I wanted more. No, I deserved more because everyone should have a serene space to go home to and no one should ever resort to using their oven timer as an alarm clock.
But for the time being, I had just succumbed to blasting my TV to drown out Skinemax next door. I clicked through the channels and, for some reason, decided to watch a self-help guru talking to a large audience. He was saying that the Universe provides everything you desire as long as you require it.
“Live the life you want,” he said. “Don’t wait for things to come to you. Act like you already have them and you will get whatever you want.” Sure the man had long ratty hair, was wearing head-to-toe white linen and sounded like he just smoked a bowl, but at that moment I didn’t care. He was telling me that all I needed to escape living in the place my friends affectionately nicknamed “the closet,” was to spend a little quality time with Visa and MasterCard. It seemed too simple, too easy. But if that was all it really took, I had to try it.
I jumped out of bed and threw on my only trendy outfit. I slicked my hair back into a sleek ponytail, threw on some heels and grabbed my oversized shades. I was ready to go full-blown Kardashian.
As I strutted down the city streets, I couldn’t help but notice that people were looking at me differently. Then I realized my pants were unzipped. So I fixed that issue, but people kept staring. Men were actually checking me out. Women were looking at me with envy. I guess this is what happens when you spend more than 10 seconds on your appearance.
I arrived to my destination, Bergdorf’s, where I was initially assaulted by a pack of women trying to spritz me with perfume. Once I smelled like my Aunt Ethel, I made my way to my favorite department: the dress department. If I wanted to afford a large apartment, I needed to first look the part. So I began trying on any and everything that caught my eye – a Versace here, a Chanel there – until I settled on a sophisticated and sexy black dress which hugged my curves and even made self-critical me say ‘wow.’
At the register, the cashier was about to tell me the price. I handed her Visa and said, “It doesn’t matter.” She swiped and that was it. I should have felt fabulous. I should have felt powerful. But I didn’t. The only thought that wandered through my head was “how much did this dress actually cost?” I tried to push away those thoughts and embrace the self-help guru’s teachings: Think, live, act like the person you want to be and it will come true. But when I got to my apartment and took the dress out of the hanging bag, my curiosity got the best of me. I leaned over so I could glimpse the price on the dress’ tag….and then got violently ill.
I just spend twice my rent on one dress. I was about to go into debt for a piece of fabric for which I had no occasion to drape myself in. I started to panic. I needed to fix this. I would just go back to Bergdorf’s, return the dress and tell them my party was…um. ..cancelled. Yes, that sounded good. I went to put my heels back on, but as I pressed the first on my right foot, I felt shooting pains. Blisters covered the entirety of my feet.
I threw my heels across the room. Who was I pretending to be? I wasn’t some fancy debutant. I went to apartment parties with Bud Light and green apple Smirnoff. I took off my trendy outfit and threw on some stretchy pants, a hoodie and tennis shoes. Then, I walked back to Bergdorf’s.
“I’d like to return this,” I said handing a different sales person the dress.
“Did you not like it?”
“No. My assistant bought it. It’s just not me.” So what? I can still pretend a little.