Today I'm going to tell you about a friend of mine from high school. I'll call her L.
L is three years younger than I am, so she was a freshman when I was a senior. I had known her before that though. Our families went to the same church, and she played softball on two junior high teams on which my mother was the coach.
When she started high school, she was good friends with a couple of other freshman girls who happened to be in band with me. One of those girls was my assigned "freshman buddy." So we all sort of hung out together.
During the second semester of her freshman year, L decided she really didn't want to go to class. She preferred to spend her time across the street on the smoking curb, or sleeping at home after both her parents had gone to work.
After she had missed 85 days or so of school, they kicked her out. She never did go back to that school, or any other.
A few years later, she got her G.E.D., and then went to cosmetology school to learn to do nails. She does that to this day.
When I was a freshman in college, and she should have been a sophomore in high school, she hung out with me at my dorm. Her parents couldn't control her, and she basically did whatever she wanted. At the time, I thought she was fun. She liked to drink and party, and me being in college, I enjoyed that too. She was cute and she lured in the boys. Fun stuff. The only difference being, is that during the day when we weren't partying and she was sleeping off a hangover in my dorm room, I was actually attending college.
We went through a lot together during my college years. We have stayed friends to this day. We went over to her house occasionally for barbeques and swimming parties. She is back in Arizona, so we basically stay in touch through Facebook.
Our lives went in very different directions, she and I. You see, when she was 17, she went to Virginia to live with her aunt for a while, because her parents didn't know what to do with her anymore, and she couldn't stand living with them either. When she was there, she met a guy who was probably 22 at the time. I'll call him J. She started dating J. He was a nice guy who worked for some computer company. When she came back to AZ a year later, he came with her.
When she was 19, she and J got married. J was/is an extremely ambitious, money-wise, responsible, mature guy. He worked his way up through a couple of different jobs, and is now an IT director for a very well-known company that rhymes with Marles Lawb. My friend L, she still does nails.
They live in a big house. They have three teenage boys who have always had whatever they wanted. She lives a life of extravagance and social scenes. They have a lot of parties so she can show off her house and everyone can see what a great life she has. She lives this life as though she's entitled to it. I wonder if she ever considers where she would be had she not met J?
She brags incessantly about her middle son, who is a junior in high school. He gets straight As in his AP classes and plays on the varsity football team. A few other friends of hers refer to him snarkily as "the golden child" behind her back, because honestly? It gets tiring listening to her after a while.
I know why she does this though. She is very insecure with herself, and she validates herself through her boys and her house and her successful husband. Still, it doesn't stop me from being a little...miffed. Jealous isn't the word, because I wouldn't want to be her. But here I sit with a college degree, unemployed. My husband went to college, and is also unemployed. We both had the bad luck to be working for companies who, due to financial reasons, closed their offices.
I spent yesterday panicking because my husband's unemployment money didn't show up on his debit card. When it didn't show up Tuesday, we weren't that worried, because Monday was MLK day, and everything was shut down. But when it wasn't there yesterday, I was having more than just a small anxiety attack.
He called the unemployment line, and an automated message said that his payment had been issued on Tuesday. Thankfully, we have now received it. I guess the holiday slows everything down.
Yesterday, L posted this message on Facebook:
"Sooooooo bummed!!! Lost the 72" tv last night to a power outage and it screwed up some enternal something... Have to go back to my 10 yr old 50" sooooooo sucks!!!!!!!!"
First of all, yes...she said "enternal", because she never finished the ninth grade. Also, I don't think she ever reads anything, so she spells things like they sound. She spells tomorrow as "tomarrow." Every. Single. Time. It drives me crazy. I want to tell her, but I can't think of a tactful way to do it. I've commented on her status when she spells it that way, and I'll use the word in my comment, spelled correctly. She still doesn't get it.
But when I saw that message, my first thought was, "Oh, poor baby...you have to use a 50" TV for awhile, until you replace the 72" one?" Which they undoubtedly will, because they can. Let me get out my violin of all things tragic.
It's even a little more disgusting, because she can post that a week after an entire country was devastated by an earthquake. I doubt world events are even on her radar.
Then I thought about myself, panicking over a missing unemployment payment. Scores of people have died in Haiti, and those who haven't are living in horrendous conditions, with no food, water or shelter.
I have a roof over my head, and food on my table. I have three beautiful, healthy girls. I even have a 38" TV in my living room with a very nice picture that we picked up at the thrift store for $25. I have cable TV and Internet access. My kids don't have designer clothes, and they don't get everything they want, but they have plenty, more than they need. We have electricity and water and heat. We have two cars, and family and friends who are alive and well. We are struggling a bit right now, but we will get through it and we will be fine.
I wonder if this lady would be upset if she had to use a 10 year-old, 50" television for a while?