Friday, March 11, 2011

"I love him, but it embarrasses me to walk down the street with him"

My friend Barb and I went to see the revival of Hair last night. I haven't given that show a moment's thought in years (decades?), so I forgot how charming the score is. Here's "Frank Mills," my favorite song of the night.

The rest of the evening was interesting, too. I brought a $20 discount for the restaurant we dined at -- it was a rebate I earned for regularly making our reservations through Open Table. I was very excited about using it to cover our tip, thereby helping me stay on budget for this week.

After the play we stopped at her office to pick up her iPad. I asked her what she used it for and she said, "everything." Not good enough. I'm seriously thinking of getting one to add a year or two to the lifespan of this MacBook. It's still working fine, but unibody is showing signs of wear. If I use an iPad for most things but left the MacBook at home for only Microsoft Word and long-format copy (i.e., work) and Quicken, I'm sure I won't need a new one for at least another year -- when changes in software will drive my purchase decision.

Barb's response? "Gal, just buy a new MacBook. I mean, how much can they cost?"

"$1200," said I.

"Exactly. What's $1200 in the scheme of things?"

"Barb, that's a week's takehome pay."

Embarrassed silence.

I am an associate creative director. I work for a vice president/creative director. Who works for a vice president/group creative director. Which is the job Barb has at another agency. Plus she's a part owner, which makes a big deal come bonus time.

Whereas I haven't had a raise for years.

I think she forgot.

In 2004, I was burned out and I got off the merry-go-round. I freelanced for a year and half before I took this job, which was a $30,000/year paycut from where I had been. That was my conscious choice -- I no longer wanted to be a boss and I hated firing people. So I'm not complaining or whining about that. (I am complaining and whining about not getting a raise for years ... four years, actually, but who's counting?)

So I think Barb forgot that I'm not longer just a rung behind her on the corporate ladder, and I suspect she assumed I my annual salary is still $30,000 more than it is.

It was a sobering moment for both of us. I tried to diffuse the tension by telling her about my new austerity initiative, inspired by my new motto: "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life." We both laughed ... albeit awkwardly.


  1. Anonymous7:55 AM

    I like your writings and wish I could reverse my life style sometime to move away from the work stress.

    You made a decision for yourself.

    I remember seeing Hair on stage in Dallas. I have not thought about the musical in years. What a lifetime ago that was.


  2. I'm loving my iPad. I feel like I'm not making full use of it, though. But that's the newness.

    I think it's been 25 years since I've seen Hair, too. You're so lucky to live near theater.