Sweatpants Are All That Fit Me Right Now (and Other Things I Would Like to Tell Bill Collectors)
Just a regular Tuesday night…
It may have been a hard 10 years since Mean Girls was released in theaters, where Regina George experienced a cataclysmic fall from the social hierarchy. But it seems now, more than ever, the rules still apply; different scenarios. More money. Same rules.
When I get behind on bills, it’s like Lauryn Hill’s music video for “Everything Is Everything.” The entire world keeps spinning but I go into some sort of miserable retrograde, where it suddenly becomes impossible to catch up. Don’t we all feel like a fallen-high-school-queen-bee at one point or another? Especially when it comes to money. Indulge with me, if you will, because this is my story (and probably yours, too).
Last week, I found myself suffering from an emotional weight gain because of all of the financial stress. And it would show on my body, if I could afford groceries that weren’t hot dogs, 99 cent lunch meat, the cheapest loaf of bread available, and Top Ramen. (Also, there is something weirdly icky about the Bravo by my house.) My new idea of splurging is ordering something from Mcdonalds, that’s not on the dollar menu–if that’s what you can call it nowadays. (Duck down like a dynasty. I’m throwing shade, team.)
At that point, I no longer believed in personal debt or borrowing from friends and family. It simply perpetuates a vicious cycle: I get paid, pay them back and I’m immediately in need of borrowing more money again. It’s financial bulimia. I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “I don’t hate you because you’re broke, you’re broke because I hate you.” Then I stepped in something wet. I was wearing socks. There’s nothing worse than stepping in something wet when you’re wearing socks in your bathroom.
I got dressed and removed said wet sock, preparing myself for an audition later that day. A friend saw me at the audition, that required us to be shirtless, and mentioned how great I looked. I thanked him and avoided the urge to ask if he had an extra sandwich he could spare. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the part because they said I looked too young.
After that I received a phone call from the Department of Education (DoE), who were all up in arms about my payments on student loans. The bank had just closed my bank account, because as it turns out you can only have your account in the negative for so long. The DoE mentioned that they hadn’t received a payment in three months and that they were willing to negotiate me down to $20/month in payments.
“Twenty dollars a month?”, I thought to myself. “That’s my red wine money!”
The representative didn’t stop at $20 a month. It was straight up deal or no deal.
He said he could knock it down to $5/month. I still felt like that was a struggle for me.
I sighed deeply and sulked momentarily.
“Sweatpants are all that fit me right now,” I helplessly mumbled.
“What?” he replied, in confusion.
“I have to call you back.” I said. I was worried that they were somehow tracing my call.
I made my way to the bank to try to rectify the account situation. I chose to go to a new bank where no one knew me, so I could start fresh like the lead character in History of Violence. The mob would never find me here. I told them I wanted to open a new checking account and promptly noticed the discount for college students. Itching to use my youthful looks and get the discount I could hardly control myself. “I am a student!” I yelled desperately. I gave him my college ID.
“This says you go to University of Miami.” he pointed out.
“Yup, ‘canes for life.” I declared proudly.
“So you go to University of Miami, but you live in Harlem?” He’d had a pretty valid point. I needed to cover my tracks quick before he started asking more questions.
“I commute.” I muttered. And it was one of those times where you’re already too far into the sentence/word to change the words so before I knew it, it was out of my mouth.
“You commute from New York to Miami!?” The tone in his voice was one that was highly unconvinced.
I maintained my dignity and grace by continuing to make full eye contact with my legs gently crossed and hands clasped neatly on my lap. I could’ve been a character on Revenge.
“I mean, I’m… I’m taking a semester off right now, you know…to figure things out.” All I needed to figure out was how to get out of this bank with that bank account and debit card in my hand, legally this time; I did not want a repeat of 2009.
Ultimately, he finally gave me the debit card. I set up auto-payments and returned home to mop my bathroom floor. Emotionally, sweatpants are all that fit me right now. But at least I can maintain that emaciated, sickly, New York look this city approves of so much.