By: Revanche

“Rejected by Mr. Jones”

September 25, 2006

[of the Joneses with whom we try to keep up.] was the note I found on my credit card that was left with a friend to pay for my and BoyDucky’s share of dinner.

Actually, I was with BoyDucky’s friends/family all weekend and all I was trying to do was to pay for our portion of the bill ($44). We had to leave early to return the rental car, so I asked a friend to just sign for me. But later I found out that the card was “rejected” again. Because it “didn’t work.” And “they don’t take that kind of card.” Mm-hmm. BoyDucky’s eldest sibling is genius at blocking my attempts to pay for most meals and all I can do is protest and walk away shaking my head because unless I get involved in underhanded trickery which involves paying for the WHOLE meal for about 12 people, there’s nothing I can do to make them use my credit card. Well, he’s genius at doing it to almost anyone he wants to do it to, but that’s beside the point.

*sigh* So I inadvertently saved $44 but it touched a nerve. To begin with, I’m not the girl who likes having boyfriends because that means they never have to pay for anything. That’s just unfair.

For another thing, I just can’t help but wonder, just a little, if the treating stems from their knowledge that I don’t have money to slosh around. I know it’s probably just their upbringing – with Asians, the eldest usually pays for all- and I know that he didn’t do it to make me feel bad, but it’s sort of a sensitive thing for me right now.

My sensitivity is that it does help that I’m not paying for all these meals out so I feel like I’m taking advantage of the situation. That’s definitely not my intent, but between paying for rent, all the gas/groceries for the family, and some utilities, things are definitely tighter and there is far less disposable income available than I’m comfortable with. It seems like with all my cuts in personal spending or the lack of personal frivolous spending, I should have SOME breathing space in my bill-paying allowance, but I definitely use up every last bit of it each month.

A lot of this month’s was generated by unexpected miscellaneous expenses that have to come out of pocket:
Microwave died on 8/20: $98.80
Replaced another flat tire on 8/23: 53.95
MaDucky’s dental on 8/25: $85
Dog licenses: $30

I should be grateful that all these expenses come up and still manage to stay very close to my expense budget, but all I can think of right now is that I HATE FEELING POOR. I hate it. I hate that I can’t just make a purchase without immediate flashbacks to my balance sheet, I hate that I can’t stop analyzing every expenditure in terms of what else it could have bought, I hate worrying about making ends meet and I hate feeling Poor.

I know that what that really means is not that I want more things, that I need more things, but that I just want freedom. Freedom to decide for myself whether or not I can have something, rather than saying it doesn’t matter if I need it, I can’t afford it. Freedom not to fear making a mistake if I want to make a career change, freedom to have one thing without sacrificing everything else. Freedom to relax, for heaven’s sake!

I am my own, only, financial safety net and I don’t like this feeling. This feeling that financial disaster is just one little incident away. A car accident, a train wreck, a medical emergency. Even worse, any one of those things involving either of my parents because they’re my responsibility! argh! Of course, it would emotionally just kill me if anything happened to them, but purely practically speaking, I would have to choose between working to support them and physically taking care of them every single day that they needed care and attention. I can NOT imagine how single mothers do this alone. Seriously.

I know that I have the e-fund that’s slowly being funded but that’s for real life emergencies and both it and the retirement funds are inviolable. They may lack funding when some months are tight but they are never to be raided, especially not for optional LIFE&fun things.

So sometimes, despite BoyDucky’s admonitions that I feel guilty for things I really shouldn’t, I feel like my financial insecurity or seeming dependence is highlighted when people pay for me. I need to know they’re paying because they want to, or when it’s their turn, but not because I’m poor. Now there’s an awkward conversation to have.

3 Responses to ““Rejected by Mr. Jones””

  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. mOOm says:

    I still don’t know why it is that your whole family seems to depend on you financially. Anyway, your not poor then, but just have a lot of responsibilities.

    I have seen this wanting to pay fighting thing with Chinese people both Chinese-American and immigrants. I just didn’t want to fight so they ended up paying and then someone else upset that I didn’t pay. The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me. I never have who pays problems with anyone from other cultures.

  3. A combination of things, really, and nothing that can change overnight. Or at least nothing I can force to change overnight. Also MaDucky’s health is complicated so of course that really influences the situation.

    For the most part, I grew up understanding the cultural thing. I didn’t have to like it, but I had to respect the older generation. In this case, it gets under my skin more because it reminds me of what I feel are my shortcomings.

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