Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Best $5 I Ever Spent...

...was also the last five bucks I had to get me through that summer weekend in Victoria in 1985.

The first day of this house-sit (2 years prior I had become a house-sitter in exchange for a roof over my head) feeling restless, I went downtown. As I glanced up at the neon sign for BACK TO THE FUTURE flashing on the local cinema’s marquee that beautiful Friday night, I thumbed the five-dollar bill in my pocket and replayed the last words the homeowner had said as she headed out the door, “There’s plenty of food around. Help yourself.”

As a struggling cartoonist living in Victoria, in order to support my habit – I’ll call it a habit because I made virtually nothing as a cartoonist - I became a jack of all trades (gardener, artist, dishwasher, and artist’s model) because my other passion was yoga; my other “profession” – yoga teacher.

Before yoga went viral, if we got paid at all, yoga teachers made six dollars an hour, class offerings were few, less during the summer months. My meager bi-monthly check for teaching wasn’t coming til Monday. I’d spent all I had on rent for my studio space, art supplies and postage to send my cartoon packages to syndicates all over North America.

Movie or groceries, I asked myself. “There’s plenty of food around. Help yourself.” I ducked into the movie theatre and for two glorious hours Marty McFly and I escaped the reality of our lives.

That night I rummaged through cupboards, fridge and freezer. There was meat; I was vegetarian. There was junk food galore so all weekend I feasted on: Chips Ahoy cookies, ice cream, pop and Cheezies. I was filled with joy as I ate remembering the great night I’d had.

On payday, I slunk around the inner isles of the grocery store filling my cart with all the items I’d consumed. What would my yoga students think if they saw me?

I’ll say, “I’m having a party”. They don’t have to know that the party has already taken place.

*     *     *I

If you went over to Gail Vaz-Oxlade's website and blog and read the chosen stories, the reason my entry didn't get chosen will be very apparent to you. I can just hear the staff wondering, what kind of moron submits a story like this to GVO the queen of financial responsibility.

Well, I'll tell you. 

One that has had this story in her head for quite a while now and when she read - write a story about money - this is what came out without thought as to the intention behind the challenge.

But, my intention was to write a story about money in 350 words or less as stipulated in the challenge. So, thanks GVO for the inspiration.

P.S. sorry I'm late in posting this.

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