The Realization That You Can’t Afford Anything

The Realization That You Can’t Afford Anything

Last weekend, I naively wandered into Pottery Barn in search of a kitchen table. It was one of the most costly mistakes I’ve made in my adult life. Not financially costly, because I sprinted out of there without buying anything, but costly in terms of my self-esteem. I had never actually purchased a table, and had no idea how much a quality slab of wood on which to consume meals should cost. A rude awakening was on the horizon.

First, it’s necessary to give a little history on my table situation. After graduating from college in 2010, I moved into a one-bedroom apartment in south Austin, and for several months ate off of a computer chair. I just wheeled the chair over, placed my microwavable dinner on the seat, leaned forward from the couch, and consumed. I didn’t have a coffee table, and I didn’t give a fuck. Life was simple then.

A little over a year later, I moved into another one-bedroom in a better location. The coffee table that I had eventually purchased went with me, and remained my primary dining surface throughout my stay. There was a “breakfast nook” in my new place, where a table should have been positioned, but I put my desk in that bitch. Money over breakfast.

Fast forward to present day, and I’m moving out of my old place and into a larger two-bedroom, climbing the domicile status ladder just like the Jeffersons. Problem is, this new place will look stupid without a kitchen table in the dining area. Being completely unfamiliar with the complexities of the furniture world, and having sworn to never return to the hellhole that is IKEA, I decided to hit Pottery Barn on Saturday afternoon and see what they had to offer.

I waltzed in there like a high school kid who has seen American Pie: Beta House too many times waltzes into his first college party: expecting to be showered with alcohol by incredibly hot, barely dressed sluts while someone sells me a table fit for royalty at a reasonable price. This is not what happened.

A few steps into the store, and I could already tell something was amiss. It was as if the scent of fine craftsmanship in the air was attempting to warn my brain that I didn’t belong. I immediately spotted a table out of the corner of my eye. It was white, and looked solid enough.

Fuck it,” I thought to myself. “I’m not picky.”

I reached down and flipped over the price tag: $1,499. My balls shriveled up and retreated into my abdomen. I made a face that said “I approve of this number,” in case anyone was watching, and then backed away, horrified.

I quickly moved on to the next closest table. It was a little smaller and rustic looking. I flipped the tag: $1,799.

Frantically, I began moving from table to table, flipping tags in search of one that was at least under $500, but no such table ever came. I started checking out other items, like small bookcases and laundry bins, and realized that I couldn’t afford anything in this furniture palace for billionaires.

What is this, a fucking joke?” I wanted to yell. “Am I part of some elaborate hoax where the entire world knows something about acquiring tables that I don’t? How do you people afford the fucking food that goes on the fucking table?”

Other shoppers moved calmly along, smiling contently as they gazed upon fine mahogany tables and chairs made of gold, while soothing elevator music oozed through the speakers, easing them on to incredible credit card debt.

I sprinted out of the store, questioning everything about my life. After that I headed to Pier 1, Restoration Hardware, and Crate & Barrel, repeating the exact same experience at each.

The real problem, though, is that this type of shit happens all the time. I realize I need something for my apartment, or want to go on vacation, or receive a medical bill, and am slapped across the face by the reality of how fucking expensive life is. That’s why I spend thousands of dollars on ballin’ ass flatscreen HD TVs to scatter around my place, and ignore everything else.

Things I would rather do than spend over $1,000 on a flat piece of wood:

-Venture into the woods and chop down a tree, like Clark Griswold, and then go home and fashion a table myself, like Ron Swanson.

-Have someone regurgitate their meals into my mouth like a baby bird.

-Eat off of a fucking computer chair for the rest of my life.

The realization that you can’t afford anything. #PGP

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles: Game of Thrones podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover sports podcast, 2017 Masters attendee, bigger and more loyal Rockets, Astros and Texans fan than you, cheese enchilada aficionado, and nap god.

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