how much I want to be an aunt considering I don’t have good relationships with any of mine. I don’t have bad relationships with any of them either. We have the relationship that the Earth has with Saturn. I know Saturn is there. I know someone liked it enough to put a ring on it. Instead of the sun, we orbit the double helix of our shared deoxyribonucleic acid. And that’s enough for me for now.
I tried for a while with one of them, making the effort to call regularly, but as in my
lack of a love life as in my family life: I can’t keep reminding you that I am alive and to please pay attention to me. It’s demoralizing. It’s tiring.
Which brings me to my favorite section of How Did You Get This Number:
“…as she doled out her first most useful piece of advice, ‘you should never wear anything you can’t afford to lose.’
And then I promptly forgot the entire conversation for fifteen years. Partially because at the time we were talking about inanimate objects, not boys, and partially because these nuggets of wisdom were an eyesore of practicality in the midst of an exceedingly impractical time. Coveting was commonplace. Kids were being mugged for Air Jordans and eight-ball jackets. So sure, from a strictly life-or-death standpoint, you shouldn’t wear something that will get you shot. Or even slapped around a bit. No one can afford to sacrifice their life defending a piece of mass-produced rubber. But that’s not advice, that’s Darwinism.
As an adult of course, the symbolism of these twin philosophies is as apparent as a punch to the face with a fistful of diamonds. If you have to ask someone to change, to tell you they love you, to bring wine to dinner, to call you when they land, you can’t afford to be with them. It’s not worth the price, even though, just like the Tiffany’s catalog, no one tells you what the price is. You set it yourself, and if you’re lucky it’s reasonable. You have a sense of when you’re about to go bankrupt. Your own sense of self-worth takes the wheel and says, Enough of this shit. Stop making excuses. No one’s that busy at work. No one’s allergic to whipped cream. There are too cell phones in Sweden. But most people don’t get lucky. They get human. They get crushes. This means you irrationally mortgage what little logic you own to pay for this one thing. This relationship is an impulse buy, and you’ll figure out if it’s worth it later.”