When acquaintances find out that I live with my grandmother, they picture us living together in a candy cane cottage, where she bakes me cookies and I listen intently to her stories of the Depression, when they may not have had money but they sure had plenty of love.
"How charming!", they exclaim, "How very sweet of you!".
I do not tell of the time she threw my Netflix DVDs in the garbage, or how she once pawed through my birth control, or how she would roam my rooms while I was away at work to snoop, claiming she thought something was leaking in my bathroom. How she once washed a bag of produce I had in my room, because as a 35 year old adult, I am seemingly incapable of knowing that I should wash my fruit. How she hardly ever speaks of the past, certainly almost never of her family, and when she does it is only to mention something the neighbors did forty years ago.
"Yes" I say, smiling, faking a glassy eyed stare. "It's delightful".
Now you may be saying to yourself, how does an adult woman with a full time job and a generous hourly wage end up moving in with her grandmother when she no longer had a boyfriend to share the rent with?
Well, in my twenties I had a love affair with my credit card that was not only more passionate but more tragically predestined than that of Romeo and Juliet's. I was irresponsible enough to rack it up, but always responsible enough to pay the bill on time. I bought a lot of cool stuff, ninety per cent of which is packed into boxes in Granny's basement. I haven't seen it in two and a half years. I could now give a lecture on how the stuff you own ends up owning you, but I like my stuff, so suck it Buddha.
I take full responsibility for this. I am an adult who should have known better. Actually I did know better, but I did it anyway. I just figured that someday I would be rich and famous and it would be taken care of. Seriously. I really believed that. Still do actually.
I am angry with myself. Extremely angry. I am filled with self-loathing for putting myself in this position.
Angry, because as an extremely private person, every piece of mail, every package, every conversation, every time I come and go, is noted and commented on in numerous phone calls to my mother, aunts, and distant relatives who have not seen me since my christening in February of 1974.
Angry, because as an animal lover I can not bring a pet into this house. I've heard the horror stories of how she dispatched my mother's pets when she still lived here.
Angry, because I have watched numerous friends default on their credit cards, student loans, etc., and yet they all end up living in way, way, WAY more fabulous apartments than I could ever hope to rent.
Angry, because as a formerly precocious child who did well in school, who's parents couldn't afford to send her to the college of her choice, should, through hard work, talent and pure guts, be able to find a niche for herself in a career that doesn't make her completely miserable, and yet, and YET is so paralyzed by social awkwardness, fear of embarrassment and a strange reluctance to "put herself out there" that all she does is sit in front of the TV watching Flight of the God Damned Conchords and listening to Spoon.
Angry, because I miss my dog and my boyfriend, admittedly sometimes in exactly that order, angry because I did my part in messing up a relationship that was essentially pretty great, and which now may never be made right again despite the copious apologies issued from both sides.
For the most part, Granny means well. My anger should not be her problem, and though I may have let my frustration slip on occasion I mostly just seethe to myself. I get a lot of headaches. Must be the brain tumor.
Credit cards are a hell of a drug.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.