As the twentieth century draws to a close, I find myself the father of three boys under five. The youngest is born under circumstances that seem positively routine compared with our first outing. When I return to hospital six hours after the birth, my wife is dressed and ready to go, the baby packed up like hand luggage.
In August 2011 I'd just finished a year of wobbly misery in beautiful South Korea—teaching English—and by the end of it I had several thousand dollars and nothing else. I'd gone to Korea to travel and instead found myself in a swirling pool of depression, unable to connect with most of the excited ex-pats I spoke to, and unwilling to do the work to bridge the gap between myself and Koreans. This slow melt of melancholy meant that I rarely went out of my way to spend money on things, which allowed me to save more money than I knew what to do with. By the end I needed a break, so I took those thousands and went away to bum around in Southeast Asia.
re-marriage for women is correlated with a number of positives, whereas uggghhhhh staying divorced for a woman can spell d i s a s t e r
Work is work. We do it because we need to make money, to pay bills, to have a roof over our heads. We do it to imbue our life with a tiny bit of meaning. It’s the thing that makes it so that we can do the stuff we really like, like yoga classes and coffee with friends and fitful bursts of shopping on windy Saturdays. It is energy expended in order for money to be made. The very word sounds trying. The hard consonant is a closed fist. "I can’t meet you for apple cider and donuts," you say, "because I have to work." There are sympathetic sighs; a tacit understanding. The discussion is closed.
I know that traditional wisdom dictates I’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before I find the right person. Do I have the patience for this? Yes. Does my wallet? I’m not sure.
If you were an anthropologist and you observed my mother's last months, you would inevitably conclude that spending sprees are essential to the dying process. About six hours after she died, my father and I stood together at the kitchen sink, unwrapping individual pieces of silverware with shiny mocha-colored resin handles and dropping them into a large bowl of soapy water. It was a job because there were two tiny rubber bands securing the wrapping to each piece. There was similar set with ivory-colored handles in the pantry, customarily used on holidays and other special occasions.