Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Trash Bag Conundrum

At home we are dealing with a 16 year-old who is convinced she is an adult and can now, even with two years of high school left, go out into the world and make it on her own. After all, she can earn her own money having now held a minimum wage job for three whole months. There’s simply no convincing her that it’s all a bit more complicated (and expensive) than simply getting her own place. I’ll spare you all the gory details but let’s just say this is a HUGE point of contention right now in Casa de Eleventh Hour.

Anyway, this reminds me of a small bit if wisdom I gleaned from my early adulthood that I have never forgotten. I was about 25 and working at a radio station in Northern Illinois. The station also liked to exploit, er, hire high school and college kids to run the automated programming after hours and on weekends. One of these kids was a rosy-cheeked boy named Darrin. He had been with the station for a year or so when he finally moved out of his parent’s house and got a place of his own. Not long after that day, he came into the station, sat across from me and sighed. He told me that living on his own was harder than he thought and in a very frustrated tone said, “You have to buy all these things you never think of. Like trash bags. Who ever thinks of having to buy TRASH BAGS!”

I don’t know why I’ve never forgotten that except it seemed to sum-up perfectly the nickel and diming life uses to sandblast your youthful dreams. Hell, at the time Darrin was experiencing his trash bag shock, I was enjoying the convenience of even having a trash CAN for the first time since I finally and completely struck out on my own a year or two earlier. When I got my first post-college (furnished) apartment I decided an actual trash can was a luxury and initially only used paper grocery sacks. At some point, I felt I had a extra few dollars for an actual trash can (and the required trash bags) and moved up in the waste disposal world. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about affording trash cans anymore but the lessons of starting out in life are going to stick with me forever. Too bad those experiences have no credibility at home these days.


John said...

You're so right on here, Dave. When I was first on my own, I was staggered by the ovewhelming number of things one must buy. And the cost. "Making it" is really tough.

Unfortunately, that feeling never really goes away for me. I always feel overwhelmed by grocery lists.

ThirtyWhat said...

OMIGOD ... my first apartment "issue" was condiments. I mean ... they're just there. Who buys ketchup and mustard and mayo? They're just on the door, right???

I thought I was so together ... I went grocery shopping and got hot dogs and pizzas and chips and ice cream ... everything a seventeen year old would want in her very first apartment.

Imagine my shock when two days later I cooked a hot dog and opened the fridge to find ... nothing. No ketchup ... or mustard. No cheese or butter for that matter.

Now ... imagine my depression as I go back to the grocery store just to purchase things like salt and pepper and salad dressing and toilet paper ... all the mundane things you never think about.

Being an adult sucks ... LOL

Jeromeprophet said...


Hot Dogs, Pizza, Ice cream.
Who could ask for anything more?
Who could ask for anything more?

Oh yes,


Marie said...

A girl after my own heart. I, too, at 16 announced I was moving out, except I was a senior in high school. I had a job, a car, and a plan. When I told my dad, his response in his timbering, authoritative voice was, "you'll move out when I tell you to move out." Oh, okay. That worked. Until I was 18.

(Hey, I'll trade my 23 year old for your 16 year old.)