samedi, novembre 07, 2009

(Don't) call me irresponsible

For months, many months, my check statements have been piling up on my desk. At a certain point last spring I stopped entering checks into the Quicken register.

I hasten to say that I never overdrew that account. A pretty conservative, though not frugal spender, I checked my balance with care.

Yet I grew more and more overwhelmed, as the fiscal situation grew out of hand. I mean, it's embarrassing not to know if you have 3,000 or 1,000 in your account.
So I did what many Americans apparently do -- opened a new account. My first deposit? Very virtuous intentions -- and a nice sized check.

A few weeks ago I went house -hunting with my realtor. I've known him for over ten years. After having seen a particularly awful house, a contemporary, he told me he felt baffled by my housing choices. What single mom chooses to live, not in a townhouse, but in an exurban village filled with pioneers, farmers and landed gentry?

How many of your divorced clients live in townhouses, I asked him. 80 percent? I guessed. More like 95, he said wryly.

When I left my former place of work, he told me, people came up to him and asked him how could he allow me to buy a house out here?

I was furious at the idea that they would be so, well, parental. Even though I know they care, and I am grateful. How could you be responsible for where I choose to buy a home, I asked him?

Yes, I don't live by their conventions.

And yes, I confess, I don't always balance my checkbook.

But two children aren't being raised by themselves. My ex and I draw compliments for the collaborative way we co-parent. We agree on most of the important stuff, including income-- and the static starts to fade after, well, a year or two (grin).

There's a difference between eccentricity and irresponsibility. And right now, I'm able to chalk up that little electronic check register issue to eccentricity. How about you?

On second thought, if you have strong feelings about this, I have some former workmates you can talk to. Better you, my dear, than me.

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