“A Coach bag!”
I sit wide-eyed, not getting it, as two pairs of raised eyebrows glare at me expectantly.
“Oh! Ohh,” I finally say with an overzealous nod. “Because Coach is…not good.”
“Duh!” they say emphatically.
“Okay, okay, I get it.” Nod, nod, nod as I shove my pleather bag deeper into the recesses of my lap.
I’ve never actually owned a Coach bag.
Thus began shallow New Yorker lesson number one. Coach, bad. Gucci, good. DKNY, bad. Louis Vuitton, good. Calvin Klein, bad. Chanel, good. If name pronounce like spell, bad, bad, bad. Woof, woof. Good dog. Now go roll over and give your master, keeper of the Black Card, a blowjob.
You know your life has hit a new low when you’re sitting at a table, surrounded by your closest lifelong friends and all you can think about is what you did so wrong earlier in life to end up here. Force an unsuccessful smile and drink your wine in enthusiastic gulps as they speak several octaves above what most dogs can hear and laugh and laugh.
“So then, I was like, why don’t you just buy it for me, and he did!”
Cue squeals of delight, eyes rolling into backs of eyelids shrouded in Mac and Stila makeup.
“Oh my God! You’re so fucked up! I’m so jealous!”
“Heh?” My head snaps up to attention.
“You’re always so lost!”
“Oh, you know me, heh, I’m slow. Sort of in my own world. You know. Hah…”
And now summer has descended on New York, saturating it in a cloak of humidity, and the crowds have retreated to the depths of Eastern Long Island in search of relief. The women have dusted the dust off of their Spring collection designer dustbags and draped its overpriced contents lazily over their shoulders. Corporate peons have begun to work summer hours and the days stretch to make room for dining al fresco on Manhattan sidewalks, lazing by rooftop pools in swanky gyms and browsing shops on Madison Avenue.
Yesterday, I quit my job.
I knew there was no way for me to tell my boss what I needed to say without actually quitting. I knew there was no way I could waste any more of my time doing something I so adamantly despised. But the relief only lasted five minutes before panic set in and the word “unemployment” started thundering inside my skull.
Flashbacks of awkward dinners where I browsed menus by price, ordered ice water instead of cocktails, skipped dessert. Asking people if they could “spot me” because they insisted I come out despite the state of my finances and took me barhopping at swanky lounges. Scamming investment bankers for drinks and feeling hungover and cheap in the morning.
The liberty a steady paycheck affords is worth more than the numbers rolling up in your bank account.
In less than a month, that liberty will be gone and while New Yorkers chat on rhinestone encrusted cell phones and board the Hampton Jitney to their Summer homes, I’ll be peeling my legs off my parents’ leather couch and pushing Dog’s fuzzy-ass off of me while watching another Mets game on SNY.
“I can’t wait for the day when I can go shopping and not have to worry about the price tag,” B says while we browse a cheap outlet store in Woodbury.
“Seriously, I was just thinking the exact same thing.”
“Someday,” he says.