Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Death Phase

A few years ago, my mom's parents died within a few months of each other, and my mom went through a Death Phase. She thought about death all the time, and was prone to saying things like, "There's no point in buying that, since it'll just become clutter for you to take care of one day." My friend Miami Nice came to visit during the Death Phase, and started telling my mom about this book she had read called Stiff, about dead bodies. "I would loooooove to read that," said my mom, eyes wide, as I made "cut!" gestures to Miami while Mom wasn't looking. Once, my parents texted while I was out celebrating a friend's birthday, and I didn't reply. The next morning, I took a shower, and by the time I got out of the shower not only did I have multiple voicemails of increasing desperation from my parents, but I also had messages from several friends. My mom had convinced everyone -- even the friends who I had been out with the night before -- that something terrible had befallen me. Nope, just taking a shower!

My landlord's mother had a heart attack recently and is now in rehab, and he seems to be going through a Death Phase of his own as a result. I told him I am moving out. He said he doesn't want me to, and he won't raise the rent if I'll stay. But then, he said he thinks I'm doing the right thing. "You're not getting any younger," he reminded me. "Oops, did I just say that out loud?"

He gave me the following advice: Never go out for dinner. No drinks out. Save up like crazy, because I'm going to need $3 million to get me through my last years. I can do it, as long as I live like "a cheap bastard" (his words). "You never know, you might find yourself old and with no one to take care of you. I might, too," he said, just before he walked out.

Quite the reality check. And I thought cheap rent meant I could go off austerity measures.

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