Friday, April 5, 2013

Material Girl

In my head, Friday is always payday, even though I actually get paid at the middle and end of the month. I have a vexed relationship with money—love it! want it! not willing to be an accountant or whatever to earn more of if when I can read books and talk to students instead! but sad about that sometimes too (like when Laura’s tuition bill comes due). It’s funny that when I was in college I was absolutely insistent that I would make my career choices on what I loved, not how much I would make, and that I wouldn’t later regret that. It sounds so dumb (and clearly is an indication that I was fortunate!), but I genuinely didn’t care about money then. I actually haven’t regretted my career decisions, even though they haven’t always been as financially rewarding as one might hope. The older I get, though, the more interested I actually am in money. Apparently I’m not the only one! Here’s a snippet of poem for today:
“Middle-Age Poem”
Grace Paley 
              With what joy
I left home to deposit one thousand, one hundred and nineteen
                    dollars in the bank
I was whistling and skipping
you would think I had a new baby and a new cradle
after so many years. . . . 
I love historical currency conversion—so Paley’s 1985 $1119 today would be $2414.44. If I had an extra two thou to deposit today, I’d be skipping and whistling too. :) At the end of the poem, Paley compares going to the bank to meeting a lover. I dunno know about that! But I do love the way Paley’s poem grapples with the way our desires change over life.