Thursday, May 15, 2014

You Think You Know Shopping? You Don't Know Shopping. I KNOW Shopping! Sit Down, Shut the Fuck Up. I Will Tell You About Shopping!

I was surfing my Facebook this morning when I came across this post. "Shopping is cheaper than  a psychiatrist." Now this I found to be quite a profound and bold claim and found myself sitting back to weight its truth. The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that the person who made this statement was not an individual who knew what the fuck they were talking about. In fact, as I began to survey my own memories of the past I became absolutely certain that this was false. I am prepared to allow that one can have bills of equal expense from both the psychiatrist's and retail therapy but I cannot simply allow that one will necessarily exceed the other, not if the woman in distress knows how to shop. And certainly not if she has the money and near limitless budget to pursue life as she wishes.

I grew up the grand-daughter of a professional gambler. In addition to taking care of my mother and grand-mother (GrandPoppy's 3rd ex-wife and his 5th ex-wife) he had a significant entourage that hung about. And he spent a fair amount of time keeping the women who were family from being jealous of the entourage and vice versa. The easiest way to achieve this tricker than tricky trick was to dole out cold hard cash and hope that it would last long enough to keep each camp occupied for a decent length of time to stay out of his personal. 

His youngest sister, my Aunt Helen, however grew up to lead a life of nearly every vice one can imagine. She pursued vice so well that eventually she became his most important business competitor. After marrying her pimp and leaving the sporting girl's lifestyle she managed to put her energy into all manner of business ventures, legal and semi-legal both. But that isnt what made Aunt Helen a legend. What made her legendary on the margins of  the city's black community was just her. Her SELF. It was the way she walked (like a woman who knew more about sexiness than you did); the way she looked (like a movie star: big hair, flashy clothes, jewelry made of large rocks, expensive heavy perfume that announced her presence before she was seen). She dressed like a rock star. She was an old woman when I was in high school and still there were folks who whispered about her in that awed type way folks do when they are speaking of someone who leaves morality to the preachers and lives however she damn well pleases.

So there was shopping going on all the time. The women in my family shopped at high end boutiques where black people rarely went. And this I know because occasionally my mother, grand-mother, my great Aunt Helen would return from a venture bearing boxes and bags like treasure pirates and they would report on a citing of another black woman from around town. The citing would be of the wife of the hospital Chief of Staff or some rare creature as that. In the conservative city one could easily spot another black person and be able to track them by a few degrees of separation. 

In the places the women in my family shopped you'd be settled down in antique chairs or cushy couches and served champagne while the attendants (who worked on commission) went waaay into the backrooms to bring out the swag that they didn't even bother to show to people with small money.

So when I saw the post this morning on Facebook I was assaulted with a bizarre range of emotions varying between rage, indignation, insult, irritation, longing, hope, and general nostalgia for days long gone. Because even into my 20s I was able to pursue the lifestyle I inherited. But to quote Ray Liotta as gangster Henry Hill in Goodfellas "Now I live like the average shmuck." 

Just thinking about that stupid post makes me mad. People just post any ole thing on Facebook and figure that if they get enough likes then that proves the truth in the statement. Because the truth is that most people don't know how to shop. I've made friends with girls and women throughout my life and someone might suggest a shopping trip and by my early 20s I always begged off any outing like that if I could. Because I can't be sure that shopping was exactly pleasurable, though it must have been since I did it often enough. But I and the women to whom I was related shopped hard, like bandits or predators. It was exhausting, tiring work that required a long rest after a nourishing meal. I learned to shop like the gladiators learned to fight for their lives. Shopping was at least as calorie draining as a power walk.

Check it out, at the height of my most disorganized lifestyle full of all manner of love drama, eating too little smoking too much, endometriosis taking its pound of flesh in eye watering knee bending pain, and finally, working hard all hours of day and night I shopped EVERY DAY. Everyday. Every day that God woke me up.

AND had a psychiatrist too. AND a psychologist too. (One does meds the other does talk therapy -- having both is not a measure of how crazy you are. Just saying. Each one helps in different ways). ANYWAY my point is that the person who made this poster doesn't know shit. And they especially don't know jackshit about shopping or psychology. 

I needed the psychology/psychiatry of course to deal with my present but also to sift through my past which was unusual at best. I had excellent health coverage at the time but I saw the bills which were not small. My psychiatrist kept a masseuse and a chiropractor on staff. While you waited for him to call you in, you would be worked on by each of the others. Oh what glorious pampering!! Ah how I miss those days!

Of course everyone, except for me and my mother, is gone who remembered those old days. So it's difficult for me to call witnesses to the psychotic shopping expeditions. 

Still, however, just one more proof that everything you see on Facebook isn't just one hundred percent truth. When the bell rings and all the rounds have been fought sometimes it's just far too exhausting to take a full reckoning on the damages. But if you want to put to monsters in the ring together then pit Shopping against Psychiatry and you will witness a formidable match of titans. Like Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier they are inseparable in importance.

And messy. Very messy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment