I was recently invited to join a site called 20-Something-Bloggers, a community of women describing in detail their sexuality in the public domain.
Needless to say, I joined and made it my homepage.
They’re holding a competition where you have to write something about how your friends influence how you spend your money. I took the required quiz and scored a 30, which means I’m “Not quite there,” or “Financially retarded.” This story happened about seven months ago, but it’s one I’ve been meaning to write and it fits the topic.
Lisa: “Don’t be an asshole Robbie. If you don’t come back, I’m probably going to die.”
It was Christmas break and Lisa had to go back to school two weeks early for swimming. Being a female living alone in South Bethlehem, she was convinced someone was planning to murder her.
Me: “You’re not going to die. Look on the bright side; I’ll be back in less than a fortnight.”
Lisa: “Listen Abraham Lincoln, you’re not doing anything in West Virginia. Just get a flight and come back here.”
That wasn’t entirely true. During a game of Scrabble with my mother, she once again brought up that I had a shit ton of loans and very little money. Annoyed by her nagging, I decided it was time to take control of my personal finances. So I signed up for a Mint.com account, bought $300 of personal finance paraphernalia, and started quoting Dave Ramsey in regular conversation.
Me: “Sorry Lisa, I’ve got to watch my expenses outflow. ‘Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else!’”
Lisa: “Robbie. Please. The middle school is back in session. It’s not safe here.”
Me: “Shit. I’m on my way.”
I drove up to the airport talking to Lisa on the phone.
Me: “…and that’s what it’s all about. Invest, invest, invest. All the experts say it’s the most important thing at our age: Ramit Sethi, Suze Orman, 50 Cent. Did you know if you invest just $100 per month now, in twenty five years it’ll be worth–”
Lisa: “Wait, do you have your ticket?”
Me: “My ticket is for ten days from now. I’m going to see if they’ll bump it up for me.”
Lisa: “Bump it up? Ten days? There’s no way they’re going to do that. You’re just going to have to buy a new ticket.”
Me: “We’ll see about that. ‘Everything is negotiable.’”
Lisa: “You’re retar–”
I put the phone down to hand my ticket to the woman behind the United counter.
United Lady: “This is for ten days from now. You got the wrong day.”
Me: “Oh did I? Aw shucks. My mother must have accidentally put in the wrong day.” Not true. “I have to get back to school! The semester is starting!” Also not true. “Is there anything you can do?”
I put on my saddest/most frightened face.
United Lady: “You can upgrade for $150.”
Me: “Shit son. Do you have any student discounts?”
It has become a habit of mine to ask for student discounts everywhere. You’d be surprised how well it works. The only place I was flat out rejected was our school’s dining hall.
United Lady: “No.”
Me: “Alright, Sharon.” I said glancing at her nametag. “Let’s just say I give you $75. Then what happens?”
I flashed three singles I had stored in my pocket. The woman glanced at them unimpressed.
Sharon: “…you’ll still owe me $75.”
I pocketed my cash and left the ticket counter. I heard some muffled screaming coming from my pocket. I pulled out my phone.
Lisa: “…and you’re never going to get back, and I’m still going to die, and–”
Me: “Lisa. It’s me. That didn’t work.”
Lisa: “I heard.”
Me: “I’m going to try something. I think I can get her down to at least $100.”
Lisa: “Robbie, this isn’t a goddamned flea market–”
I again pocketed Lisa and walked up to the Delta counter.
Me: “Hi there.”
Delta Lady: “Hello sir. How can I help you today?”
Me: “Well, I was talking to Sharon over there at United,” I waved at Sharon. She saw me, shook her head, and returned to the customer she was talking to. “And she’s willing to give me a flight today for $150. But I’ll be honest, I like Delta and would rather give you guys my business. Think we can work out some kind of deal?”
Delta Lady: “Umm… I can check today’s flights.”
Me: “That’d be wonderful!”
I leaned on the counter in a seductive pose while she furiously typed into the system.
Delta Lady: “OK, we can send you out tonight at 7:30 for $115.”
Me: “Wow! You are so helpful…” I glanced at her nametag. “…Joe? What the hell? Do you have on the right nametag?”
Joe: “Yes. I do.” He glared at me angrily.
Me: “Oh! That’s weird. I could’ve sworn you were a woman. Hold on, I’ll be right back.”
I could hear swearing coming from my pocket. Ignoring it, I walked back to the United counter.
Me: “Hey there Sharon. Me and Joe at Delta were just chatting, and he was trying to sell me a ticket for $115, and I’m all, ‘Well Delta sucks! United is way better!’” I waved at Joe. He scowled back. “So, you guys think you can compete? Swing me a ticket for $100?”
I started recounting the three singles in front of her.
Sharon: “Sir, these prices are non-negotiable. I don’t know where you–”
I gingerly placed one of the dollars in her breast pocket. Security then escorted me outside and explained that bribery “wasn’t legal” and that I had also been accused of “borderline sexual harassment” and can “no longer use this airport.”
Walking back to my car, I pulled my phone out of my pocket. Lisa had hung up and I had three text messages from her.
(908): Pick up your phone!
(908): What the hell did you do?
(908): Don’t call me.
Two minutes later, my phone started ringing. It was Lisa.
Lisa: “I’m still mad, but I’m about to walk by a pack of really angry looking middle schoolers and I need to look like I’m talking to someone.”
Me: “Aw, you’re so sweet.”
Lisa: “I know. So, you’re not coming I assume? How the hell did you get kicked out of the airport?”
Me: “I insulted a transvestite and bribed a counter clerk.”
Lisa: “You are so stupid.”
Me: “Whatever. As Dave Ramsey says, ‘Stupid’s not illegal.’”
Lisa: “Yes, but bribery is.”
I ended up getting the $115 flight online and coming back to the airport on a different security rotation. I think the moral of this story is that rather than force your boyfriend to spend $115 on a flight so he can act as some kind of quasi-bodyguard against middle school children, you should carry a gun.