Thursday, October 27, 2016

PORCH STORIES: WILMA'S DELIMA

It wasn’t the hottest day of the summer but it was pretty close and there was very little breeze arriving on the porch where I was sitting peeling potatoes. Wilma got out of her brand new car not looking very content.

“My goodness Miss Wilma, what has got you so down?”

“I’m tired Miss Nettie, I am just plain old tired.” She answered.

“Girl, don’t let life defeat you. You have to much going on in your favor.”

“Yes, I know.” She said as she climbed up the steps onto the porch.  After kissing me on the cheek she sat down on the step for a minute and then stood back up and headed inside the house.

Wilma was one of the few people I let inside my house. I know she was going to get something to drink. And say hello to my husband who was probably in the back yard working in the garden. Five minutes later she came out with three tall glasses of ice tea with my husband following her, she handed him the keys and off he went to test drive the car.

“You gonna let that man drive your new car?”

“Of course! Poppa wanted to see what it was like and so I gave him the key.” Wilma answered as she watched her car pull out of the driveway.

“What is Aaron going to say if he finds out you let someone drive your new car?”

“Nothing. And if he did I don’t care. I am tired of all this foolish keeping up with the Joneses stuff!”

“What’s going on Wilma?”

“Miss Nettie, it is nothing that is ‘going on’ it is just things are not going. Aaron’s solution to everything is to buy more stuff. He compares his happiness to what the neighbors are doing. Our children are in private school because the neighbor’s children are in private school. I got a new car because he was talking to someone who just bought his wife a new car and he thought it would be a great idea for me to get one even though the last one is not even two years old yet.
“I have three children and drive a two seater sports car, I have to borrow a car if I want to take the kids somewhere?  Of course you know because I borrow your truck from time to time.
“All I want to do is live a simple life. He tolerates me selling my crafts, he thinks it is cute that I hang out with other women at the flea market. He doesn’t know about my website. He calls it: “something to do when I am not taking care of him”. Really! Aaron does not take my goals seriously. He does not respect my ideas and I am tired of being treated like the upstairs maid with benefits.
“I am thinking about pulling the kids out of private school and homeschooling them and parking that car and buying me a used car with my own money.”

“Why would you do that without Aaron's’ agreement?” my husband heard the tail end of Wilma’s words.

“Because Poppa whenever I tell Aaron ‘no’ he does things anyway and we just cannot afford all of these things. I mean we can technically afford it but it is not leaving us much of a cushion. Just cutting out private school for three children will alleviate enough dollars so that I can do some work around the house, some upgrades.”

“So let me get this straight.” My husband began. “You do not like the idea that you can work from home, while your children are in private school and you are forced to drive this nice sports car?”

“Yes.” Wilma answered

I had finished peeling sweet potatoes so I took them inside as my husband took his seat. When I returned Chip had finished talking and was sipping on a glass of iced tea.

“The problem isn’t the car or the school. The problem is your relationship with each other. Giving you the car is his way of saying I love you and want to care for you. When you reject the things he presents to you you are rejecting him.”

“Miss Nettie we had this conversation on more than one occasion. When I try and tell him I don’t want this stuff he works harder and trying to get more. If he does not buy for me he buys for the children - stuff they don’t want.
“He told me this morning we are going to have a catered dinner party Friday. That’s in two days, people I do not know are coming to my house to eat! Why, I don’t know! But it is suppose to be OK because it is catered. More money spent on our tight household budget.”

Wilma suddenly stood up and started walking towards her car. “Miss Nettie, Poppa, I am going to a lawyer. I just made up my mind. I am going to file for a legal separation and kick him out of the house and get my children out of that school they hate. No more fake family for us!”

“Child” Chip yelled. The tone of his voice caught us both off guard. “If you are so anti-stuff then you need to leave the house. You go and leave the children there- no need in disrupting their life because you have a problem.”

“Me Poppa? Why should I leave” A bewildered Wilma asked.

“Because, you did not earn anything. Aaron works for and pays for everything in that house. If you think he spends to much money, give him your credit cards and stop spending the money he earns. Live off of what you make - that will be the simple life. If you think that car is to fancy stop driving it- take the bus!  Don’t blame Aaron because you decided you don’t like the life you are living.”

“But Poppa…”

“Don’t Poppa me! You come here complaining because your husband bought you a new car and your children are getting an excellent education. Aaron may not enjoy the idea of you selling crafts but he does not stop you. And for the record, he does know about your website. Wilma you are being selfish and judgmental. Yes, Aaron is materialistic but he can afford his expenses as long as you don’t go credit card crazy and remodel entire rooms without telling him.”

All of a sudden I started laughing. I stood there looking at this young lady wearing a diamond tennis bracelet, diamond earrings, a large diamond ring on her finger next to her wedding band and her designer clothes.  Chip had peeped through her persona.

“Wilma,” I started “the problem is not Aaron keeping up with the Joneses but you wanting to be head of your household. Go back to work in some office, where you can boss people around and get paid to do it.”

Not expecting the response she got from either of us Wilma left without saying a word. Sometimes young women can be silly- that’s all I have to say about it.