My Dichotomous Life

I’m home in the middle of the day and it’s a little disconcerting. I’m usually working during the day, so this feels odd. I have a hard time even typing the word “relax” and “i” in the same sentence, so I’ve been keeping myself busy with chores.

Thus far, I’ve made myself a smoothie, taken pictures of the garden with my newly found manual camera, pickled some beets for lunch, put some beans into the crock pot for dinner, and weeded the front yard. Also, I canceled three credit cards, cut them up, took a picture of them cupped in my palm, and then threw the bits into the garbage can.

The credit card thing was a bit impulsive, admittedly. I’m one of those rare (these days, anyway) “uses credit responsibly” people. But, CLH have been making motions to prepare our wills, and other long term planning stuff, and part of that process involves reviewing our credit scores. Mine came in the mail yesterday and the fine folks at the different credit reporting agencies explained my “good” rating might be improved this way: if I got rid of the department store credit cards I had with deliciously tempting credit limits. They also said that my credit history was slightly harder to track because the average length of my borrowing life was 153 months. Hey, Sears Credit folks, I’m a hit it and quit it kind of gal, so I’m real sorry I couldn’t stick around for more than 12 months, but them’s the breaks. Thanks for the 10% off.

What a bizarre and complicated world the whole credit score thing is anyway. I remember, at 17, my then boyfriend and I drove around the various mini-malls we lived near and filled out credit apps for all the department stores that would give us credit (hence the Sears card…). I also managed to get myself a student American Express card back then. All this, because, at 17, we were thinking that we wanted to own houses one day and we were going to get our credit history built starting right then and there. I don’t know who gave us this advice, but it turns out to have backfired just a little bit. Having so many open credit cards, especially ones for department stores, does not make you a responsible borrower in the eyes of Big Brother. It makes your a slight liability. Because who’s to say you won’t up and run off to JC Penney RIGHT NOW and buy that luggage set, the bagel cutter, and 14 pleather purses and charge it all to your Penney’s card with that enormous $500 credit limit??? (And trust me, you’ll get it all on there since nothing ever costs more than 4 cents at JC Penney’s.) So, here I am, out on the deck of the house I own now, lounging around in my Crocs and eating grapes in the middle of the day… My life didn’t turn out too bad, I guess. The advice wasn’t half bad after all.

The cards I cut up this morning didn’t have balances on them. As a matter of fact, one the cards had been closed by the creditors just 5 days ago for non-use. Most of them were as shiny and unblemished as the day I slid them into my wallet so long ago. So, take THAT, credit reporting people. Now all the bad news you have for me is that my student loan is closer to NOT being paid off than it is to being paid off. What a strange world we live in. I track my spending life on 4 sheets of paper, and this paper is used to determine how I might or might not take my home equity line of credit and spend it on a trip to the Bahamas, or to put my sick mother through chemotherapy.

I’m feeling slightly schizophrenic these days. And I have to be careful about tossing that word around because I suspect there is some bad wiring amongst my immediate family members. I have to take it somewhat seriously. So, I can’t call myself literally schizo. Let’s just say that my life feels incongruous and therefore crazy.

Here’s why I feel so split: the Fall is coming, and it’s time for me to crawl back inside the cave of my own crazy-making self analysis once again. The summer never really got here. My tank tops lay unworn in my drawers. I want so badly to just be HOT and I also am looking forward to a season of reflection. One part of my life is spent battling apple maggots and dandelions, and the other spreadsheets and inquisitive clients. One part of my life is spent in ragged cargos and Crocs and the other in heels and tribal-themed jewelry to match. One part is pajamas till four and the other hair gel. One part plotting out a debt free life and the other buying tchotchkes at a garage sale. Boat. Home. Water. Land. Later On. Right Now. Comfortable. Struggling. Rich. Poor.

And I am on the one who’s carved out these designations. I oughtta follow my own advice and just be cool with all those things all at once. I can be the granola crunching bread baking make my own applesauce kinda woman AND paint my nails hot pink and sculpt my hair into a mohawk every day, can’t I? Can’t I make money and not feel bad about it? Can’t I drive a gas powered car and make my own compost? Can’t I want to live in a tropical country and want a snowy Christmas?

Life is not so one or the other. Duh. But I’m feeling like I need to choose. I don’t know where that pressure is coming from. Myself? The credit reporting agency? My tomato plants?

Here’s what I think: Capitalism isn’t just for those who can make a dollar mercilessly. And holistic living isn’t just for people who don’t shave their armpit hair. A la some infomercial host, I believe: “There’s got to be a better way!” I guess I will just have to live with this split in my psyche until my two worlds merge seamlessly and I no longer care that I pick cucumbers in designer jeans or go to work in the big city with dirt still under my fingernails.