tales of a girl in the city

mars 03, 2005

All About The Benjamins

Someone across the street is practicing their electric guitar, and suddenly Brooklyn sounds like I always thought it would. Any moment all of us struggling artists will pirouette onto the stoops of our respective brownstones and begin the musical number where we sing about our big, artsy dreams.

Only, having just paid some bills and checked my bank account balance, I think it's official. I'm no longer part of the struggle.

Proof? My iPod. My ridiculously priced new haircut. My savings account. My health insurance. My splurges. My taxes.

If my life were a sitcom where the opening credits changed from season to season a la The Cosby Show, the first couple of seasons would've been pretty low-budget. Me in my kitchen, smiling at the camera as I open up a can of tuna. A lot of episodes featuring my "creative friends"--identified by their ironic t-shirts and shaggy haircuts--who would come over to soothe my ever-present heartbreak and coax me out of my flannel pajamas. Then we'd break into the Old Milwaukee and play Pictionary. Roll credits.

This season's opener would be a little flashier. A new, snappier theme song. A slightly larger wardrobe budget. Me walking up Fifth Avenue, arms swinging. Sunshine. A new pet. We're Gonna Make It After All.

You see, I've never been one of those creative people who's all about the struggle. Struggle is fine, when you're twenty-one. But when you're twenty-six, and your friends have real lives, and real jobs that give them an amazing thing known as PAID VACATION (cue: heavenly light, and angelic choir), struggle looks less and less good. And when you look at your thirty-six year old friends, who are still moving slowly uphill, waiting for things to happen. Waiting for "It." The Big Break. And who, in the meantime, have both wives and roommates. Who have no savings. No health insurance. No time, even, to go on auditions and pursue their dreams because they're too tired after finishing their second shift at job number three.... I knew early on that that would never be me.

How lucky I feel, then, that part of my present security has come from my creative pursuits. The money for Tuesday's Day of Beauty came from my ability to make people laugh. I can pay my rent without having to skip meals. And Mom and Dad haven't come to the rescue in almost a year and a half....


Probably temporary.

But unbeliveable.