Recently I met up with a friend who I had been seeing. Separated from his wife with three kids in college and another two in grade school, he confided in me that he was moving back in with his ex-wife because he couldnt affort the three tuitions, separate living expenses. He assured me all was well with that financial decision.
Inside I was screaming. What??? I’m a single mother sole supporting with a big fat mortgage after paying out a big fat settlement to my ex. I was furious. He went on to explain he could use that rent money to pay down his credit and to position himself better financially.
It was a sound financial decision that crushed my heart. Being the emotionally stunted computer geek that I am did I rant? Did I rave? No I just pulled out a stick of gum as one loan tear rolled down my cheek. Yes, like that Indian in the 70s commercial when they pollute his forest.
I dont want to get married. Im not looking for a committment. As I chewed that gum down to a paste I started to feel the compassion for my friend. I am free. I don’t have to take in a renter. I don’t have to go back to live with my ex. He might have to but I will never open that door – i might as well put us on a cruise on the Titanic 2.
The longer I chewed and he droned on the more I felt compassion rather than anger. Who wants to live with their ex? What kind of stress will that bring? In this economy I see my friends doing that more and more…or staying because they can’t afford to leave.
As I spit out the pulverized Trident I thought how grateful I am to be beholden to no one. To be able to make my way in the world without having to live with anyone but those people I choose. Had I not had that stick of gum who knows what thing I might have said.
Compassion and The Art of Gum Chewing is something i bet no focus group ever brought to Trident.