Peggy asked if I thought she would still go to France if I have cancer. I said she should consider the prognosis. Her response was that there was no way she would go. I was so surprised that I didn’t think to ask if she would stay home to support me, or because she would be too bummed to enjoy France. I wouldn’t want her here unless the prognosis was grim. I would miss her, but no more than I would miss her anyway; and I would be awfully sorry about all those nonrefundable reservations.
Peggy and I differ in that I am much more likely to make decisions based upon money. I love watermelon, yet I didn’t buy a single melon last year because the prices were too high. Peggy was horrified. “You’re worth the money,” she argued with generous intent, but with logic that reminded me of a television commercial. “What does my worth have to do with overspending on a watermelon?” I countered. “You could just as easily argue that I am worth saving the money.”
When I spend big, it’s on non-consumables like tools or that $1,750 bike I bought last year. I’m not cheap; I’m frugal. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember, and I have no desire to change. Peggy is also frugal, but not as much. If she weren’t frugal, we wouldn’t be together. She would be out spending like the average American, and I would be home packing my bags and separating our finances. She does have her indulgences, but we’ve worked it out so that I can live with them. Her skiing—like her trip to France—comes out of common funds. Her buttons are another matter because the expense is ongoing. When she began spending what I considered a lot of money, we agreed that, for every dollar she spent, I got one dollar for myself. Her “dollars” are displayed in cases; my dollars are in mutual funds.
She argues that the stock market could crash tomorrow and I could lose everything, whereas she has already gotten enormous enjoyment from her buttons, and is unlikely to lose them. She might be right, but then again, a fire or a flood could take her buttons while my funds would go on doing their compound interest thing. Maybe I don’t enjoy greenbacks as much as enjoys buttons, but they still give me a warm feeling. Money alone can’t buy security, but I never heard anyone say he felt more secure without it.
Peggy is away (reluctantly, due to my health) on her annual “Girls’ Weekend Out,” and I’m cleaning house in preparation for surgery. Hernia surgery is low risk, yet I had a friend who died on the table, so I’m doing a more thorough job than usual. Things like cleaning out closets, rearranging cabinets, putting contact paper in drawers, backing up computer files, updating lists, and getting rid of unneeded items. Peggy literally doesn’t know how to operate the washer and dryer, and she is all but computer illiterate, so I know I would be missed.
Yet, she would survive, I suppose, which is more than I might do if she died. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t crossed that bridge. I just know that I always hold suicide as an option, and that she does not. This is another of our differences.
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