Sunday Night Thoughts #6: The Best Things in Life

expiatorio guadalajara

Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench. – Tao Te Ching

A strange thing happened to me just now. I went to pay for a chai frappe in one of my favorite cafes here in Guadalajara, and my card was declined. At first I thought, Something is wrong with their system. There’s no way I don’t have enough money to buy a chilled beverage that costs three dollars. But then I checked my bank account. I logged into Charles Schwab, oh, the trusty Charles Schwab, and saw that in fact my bank account was at $2.67.

Instead of starting to panic, however, I became strangely calm. I became like a man on a sailboat who’s sailing straight into a storm, and he knows there’s nothing he can do about it but take the sail down, tighten the keel (I know nothing about sailing), put a lifejacket on, and hope for the best. Of course, my situation’s a bit different. I’m heading into a financial storm, but I can take direct action to mitigate the strength of that storm. In fact, if I take the correct action, I can even make sure the storm never hits and I simply sail off into the sunset, gnawing on a piece of raw tuna.

I’ve weathered financial straits in the past, and always come out of them better. In fact, those of you who know me will know that these financial straits are self-imposed. In a way, I want to be in exactly the situation I’m in right now, even if it confirms my suspicion from earlier today that my dinner tonight will consist of Cup o’ Noodles (spicy shrimp? spicy chicken? spicy anything) and possibly a tinga empanada and possibly an apple. Interestingly, these apples are imported from Washington State, almost definitely harvested by migrant laborers from the country where I currently am, and always make me a bit nostalgic/homesick. Since when can an apple make you homesick? When I make my millions I’m going to enjoy a steady stream of Red Delicious smothered in pounds of (unsweetened!) peanut butter. I’m going to live in a tiny house on a plot of land somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, and I’m going to surf everyday. And also probably keep chickens.

The point, though, that I don’t have to make millions to do this. And I don’t want to make millions. Because right now it’s a gorgeous evening here in GDL. I’m thoroughly looking forward to my grocery store walk, which will happen sometime in the next hour. And every time I get low on money I realize that the best things in life really are, proverbially, free. Like a nice walk at sunset. Like a chat with a friend. Like sitting on your couch and writing a blog post. Like drinking a chai fra–

Oh wait, that one actually does cost a few bucks.

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