Getting tired of the Financial Crisis in the media yet? I’m not. How to downgrade your holiday in the Maldives to scummy old Fiji. Finding cut-price designer jeans in the wilds of Preston and other dangerous suburbs. Keeping your old telly and set-top box in lieu of that upgrade to the plasma that you really really need. How to catch public transport with the proleteriat, or, as a last resort, put shoes on and walk using your own feet and other daring recession strategies. Give me a fucking break (that last one was mine).
How can I put this delicately? I will not try. It’s hard not to read this without a certain amount of scorn.
For years I’ve watched everyone moving forwards; working their way through successful careers, buying houses, new cars and more stuff to put in their new houses, getting together, getting married and having babies. Meanwhile, I’ve been enduring an assortment of interesting housemates, freezing cold rental properties, living on Sardine Surprise, scuttling crab-wise around different careers and bosses and Centrelink queues and half-arsed non-relationships.
I know, o middle-class crisis. But I will not lie, the chasm between me and my nearest and dearest has been wearying at times.
Now the world as we know it (and by that I mean the western world) has been heading into a steady decline over the past year or so. The reasons for this may be diverse, but one of the main ones has been people living beyond their means. Jobs are being cut, businesses scaled back and shops are emptying out. There was even a heartbreaking article in the paper yesterday about the empty shops down at Docklands, and how it was really quite a nice spot despite the great white elephant hovering over the skyline. MY HEART IT BLEEDS. Think of all the homeless kids out there, the sick, the marginalised! All they really want is a place they can shop outdoors with a nice view of other people’s yachts, where they can have a skinny latte while the wife tries on shoes (and indulge the silly old thing), yes?
So in an all of this, one would imagine the really small-time operators like old Boo are going to have a ghastly time of it. Not so. For the first time in, I don’t know how long, I’m doing all right. Weird, eh? I swear to you, I am no carpetbagger. I work with things that go tweet. Other low-rent individuals have reported the same. We feel we are ‘under the radar’.
Things are going so well that even my excellent business mentor Robyn is on my case. She was booming at me the other day that with all the excitement going on I really ought to look into getting a financial advisor sharpish. So I can plan for my future. What is this ‘future’ she speaks of. Until recently, such a thing did not exist!
What I have noticed is interesting: the minute you start making a buck, everyone starts clamouring around you like you’re made of Turkish Delight and just took a bath in icing sugar. I don’t mean as in borrowing a fiver or drinking all your 15-year-old Scotch, I mean people see your promise! They want to ‘get me sorted’ and ‘move to the next stage’. A friend wants me to buy a car! What, and why? When you have Oliver Reed, you don’t want for much more.
Maybe it’s just the stars – they’re in alignment at the moment. I checked my horoscope, and it said that this month I would be realising something I’d never realised before. Ho! My arse is too big for these jeans, perhaps. I think I’ve realised that some money does make a difference. It really does. After shouting for much of my adult life: tra la u r fools, money don’t buy you happiness, the tables have turned. And it’s odd – I don’t feel any bizarre hankering for consumables, but I am excited about, well, the promise. There are many more possibilities stretching in front of me (just don’t ask me what).
Starting with the house. I know that domesticity doesn’t make for a fascinating blog post, but it’s too bad, you’re on my turf now. My house is a dream. It’s like I’ve moved to a totally new place – one that I’m no longer embarrassed to invite people over. It’s pretty much the house I imagined I’d live in when I was little, sans the older man and the fire-engine red front door. There are paintings on the walls and little things I’ve picked up on my travels. Faded brocade, books and old rugs. It’s a pity it took me nearly four years living here to realise it. These days I like to just walk from one room to the other. Then back into the kitchen. Then leave a pile of papers in the living room. And throw my slippers into the hall. More often than not, this all happens in the nude. For me, that is the definition of luxury.
The other night, I went out with my dear friend, the A-Zee. For the first time in forever, I did not worry about the cost. We found a booth at the Toff in Town, and dined hugely on various cheese-related items. Nice wine was involved. Few people were there – they must have all been knitting wine chillers for their Grange and boiling up the last pitiful leftovers from The Essential Ingredient. As we made our way to the band room, the waitress took our drinks and found us a good spot in the middle. We enjoyed a local band, Redfish Bluegrass, and enjoyed the fine sights and sounds of fine gentlemen lost in the fine music of the 1920s. We felt like kings.