This is the tradition The Girlfriend has developed for when she gets her yearly bonus: First she gets very excited, making vague references to “saving” and “not being in debt.” The next day, she wakes up early, takes a shower and goes out to buy some expensive item that ranks somewhere between “unnecessary” (my opinion) and “a must-have if I want any chance at happiness” (her opinion).
Last year it was a new laptop, because her Dell was “too big” and “not nice looking.” She also purchased a TiVo, which I can’t really fault her on other than that she uses it mainly for “Murder She Wrote” and “Cold Case Files.”
This year we observed the ritual as usual, her paying off a large chunk of her credit card and seeming satisfied in her newfound fiscal responsibility . . . then almost immediately becoming visibly irritated that she had money that wasn’t being spent. It’s not that she’s bad with money; she just treats money the same way most people treat milk or fresh fruit – “I’d better use it otherwise it’s like I’m throwing it away.”
In the running for “absurd purchase” this year were four things: 1. a new bed, 2. an LCD TV or 3. a new dresser. After realizing that it was futile to try to stop her, I at least convinced her that the bed or the dresser were the best options. As it is now, she sleeps on a full sized mattress (which is fine for her but basically ruins my life every time I spend the night) and keeps her clothes in an old Ikea dresser that has broken down over years of use (literally a draw broke in half) leading to the creation of “The Gym Clothes Box” and “The Other Shirts” box, both of which I manage to inadvertently step into on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. She may not need these things the way a homeless person needs to have that infected wound looked at by a doctor, but at least an argument can be made for their purchase, whereas I can’t convince myself that Angela Landsbury would benefit at all from 36 inches of high definition.
So on Friday after work we went to the mattress store. Normally I’m wary of salesmen of all kinds, but mattress salesmen in particular typically have as much charisma as your local drug pusher. They’re selling something you can’t really go anywhere else to buy, and they’re making a commission off of it. It’s like me moving to Cuba and starting the only free-speech humor blog riddled with Ad-sense and then only writing jokes about immigrants. Or something like that.
Anyway, the point is this time was totally different. This time, our salesman was Bill. Bill was a Chinese man who thought that everything he said was funny, punctuating all his sentences with a muffled laugh. I imagine Bill wanting to be a surgeon growing up but giving up on the dream the first time he lost a patient and said to their family, “I’m sorry, Samantha didn’t make it through surgery, hmmhmm.”
This quality makes Bill perfect for selling mattresses. The Girlfriend and I got such a kick out of it, we would ask serious questions testing his response:
TG: “Why is it so hot in here?”
Bill: “It’s because we’re in the basement of an apartment building and the heating pipes run through here, hmmhmm.”
It put you at ease and made you feel as though not only could you trust Bill, but that Bill wasn’t smart enough to rip you off. But damned if Bill didn’t know everything there was to know about mattresses. After three (THREE) trips to the mattress store over two days (Did I mention The Girlfriend can’t make decisions?) and approximately four hours spent lying on eight different mattresses, we finally settled on this mattress after Bill described to us what EVERY SINGLE LAYER did. It was like listening to John Nash talk about math – before you know it you find yourself saying “Wow, this is really interesting!”
The mattress being delivered is a whole other story, which I may or may not get into depending on how quickly I can type before the anti-anxiety medication wear off. In fact, I will write about it. It will be therapeutic. But I’m warning you, if you have any aversion to the phrase “cocksucking delivery guy” you might want to skip it.