Last week I splurged on expensive, extra-sturdy, haul-a-dead-body, black plastic garbage bags. Even as I set the box in my shopping cart I was laughing at myself. It’s not like me to buy pricey name brands, not in food or clothing or electronics.
So when did garbage bags become a splurge-worthy item?
Since I’m now alone at our summer house in the mountains, that’s when. And I’m in charge of getting the garbage to the dump, which means I deserve only the best bags for this chore. Money is no object. No weak, white, generic, leaking, kitchen bags for this woman and her 2004 SUV!
Many years ago, after I sold my first book (1987) and gratefully cashed the check, I took my three small children to the fancy grocery store in town and let them each pick out two boxes of name-brand cereal. Because we lived on the side of a mountain twenty miles from town and because ours was a simple, homegrown lifestyle, my children had only experienced oatmeal, homemade granola and giant bags of generic cheerios from a massive local store appropriately called the Warehouse Market (there was no Costco back then, and this place was dark and cold, piled with dirty boxes, and sold skinny frying chickens for 12 cents a pound).
In a bright, light, fancy supermarket my excited children spent close to an hour deciding on their cereal choices, boxes of sugar-coated stuff they had only seen on television commercials (we had three channels back then, if the weather and the antenna cooperated). What a splurge that was! And they still remember it (is that a good thing or a bad thing?).
At every royalty-check time, for close to twenty years, my agent would ask, “What bauble are you going to buy to celebrate?”
I would hem and haw. My life was far removed from baubles of any kind. Instead my husband and I would go to Sam’s Club (by this time we were living 3000 miles from our mountain home) and buy a six months’ supply of toilet paper and paper towels. We now had six children and eash week I shopped pushing two grocery carts. A splurge would be a package of Milano cookies, not diamonds.
Oh, there would be other splurges in my life, of course. Big boxes of chocolate in Belgium, thick bars of vanilla soap in New Orleans. An emerald ring in a Covent Garden antiques stall in London. A pair of sparkly cowboy boots. A Bose speaker system for the band. A carton of fresh blueberries. Angora socks.
And now a box of indestructible garbage bags. With, I admit, the same kind of thrill.
You can laugh. I know it’s pathetic. But, hey, a splurge is totally in the eye of the splurger, right?
Merriam Webster defines “splurge” as “to spend more money than usual on something for yourself.”
What was your favorite once-in-a-lifetime extravagance? Was guilt, remorse or exultation involved? What do you consider to be a splurge?
And what kind of garbage bags do you use?