Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Money Matters

Posted by Jerry on November 7, 2006

My mom and dad asked me what I was doing with all the money I earn from work. It was a rather strange question. Especially because, thus far, I have lived all my adult/working life not having to answer anyone on how I spend my money or on what things.

So it was odd. I simply answered, “I spend it on things. Why do you wanna know?”

*gasp*! Betrayal!

That’s the look they had on their faces:

Our one, only, own son does not want to tell his parents how he spends his money!! Instead, he turns around and asks why should we want to know!? *gasp*! Is this the reward we get for raising him with so much love and care and concern?!

By now, a thinly veiled–almost deliberately thinly veiled–melancholic expression falls upon their faces. “It’s okay. You don’t have to tell us. It’s just that a happy family, parents should know what their children are doing, and children should be open to their parents.”

“Mom, I don’t see the children. Where are they? All I see are you, me, and dad. And we are all adults here.”

“Okay, your American-style family you want to live, okay. There they don’t care about their children, they throw them out of the house soon, they don’t behave as a happy family.”

“Oh, yea. We are all so VERY happy in this family,” I answer, dripping with biting, bitter, sarcasm.

“We only want to know what you’re doing with your money, so we know you are saving it for the future. If you need to spend on anything now, just ask us for money. Don’t spend your own. That’s all.”

And I think to myself, “hmmm… I should take them up on their offer. When they finally feel the pinch of having to spend on my every whim and fancy–like the DVD of THE LAKE HOUSE that I want to buy, the many books I need to buy, my restaurant and cafe expenses–they might finally realize both what I spend my money on and that it’s better to leave me alone with my money to do as I please with it.”

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6 Responses to “Money Matters”

  1. davidbdale said

    Lots of fascinating stuff here. I look forward to examining your posts at leisure. For now, though, I just thought you’d want to know, you’ve made the list of today’s Fastest Growing Blogs on WordPress. Here’s the link to the list:
    http://botd.wordpress.com/growing-blogs/
    You must be doing something right, whatever your parents might think! (Follow the link quickly, though. The list is updated every 6 hours.)

  2. Charlotte said

    Hahahahaha! OMG that is so true. Happens to me too. Parents, I tell you.

  3. Jason said

    Actually, my friend Melissa married an Indian man, and his parents are constantly coming over and opening their checkbook and yelling at them about how they spend their money. Considering she’s Jewish and he’s Hindu, they weren’t thrilled with the whole thing to begin with, but what’s worse, they won’t even speak English around her even though they can, just Hindi. Jay is constantly caught in the middle of his wife and his parents. They also pressure them constantly (though they have yet to give in) that they (Melissa and Jay) must hand over money to them (his parents) as this is what good sons do. (They seem to be the opposite; your parents are offering to give you money!!) I thought at first this may be just a case of culture clash, as Jay’s parents are first generation immigrants to America, but now I think they are just stubborn, ignorant people (but it’s hard to know considering they won’t talk English around us either!) Would you say, living in and coming from this culture, that your parents are more the norm, accepting your wish (no matter how unwillingly) to stay out of your money matters (or are they even staying out?)? Or are Melissa’s in-laws more the norm for an Indian family? I usually hate stereotyping like this, so please forgive me if I offend or anything. But every culture does have differing expectations of their offspring, and I know Melissa is having the roughest time with it!

    Anyhow, good luck in dealing with it. If it were me, I’d keep using my money–once you start using their money, you’ve handed them the power to ask about everything you do and the power to try to control what you do…

    Catch ya later…

  4. Ergo said

    Jason, your friend’s situation with her in-laws exposes the rather typical behavior of Indian parents for the most part. It’s a digustingly skewed understanding of “familial ties” and “love.” Given their warped perspectives on these notions, familial ties almost always implies a sacrifice of privacy and autonomy.

    In the case of my parents, they too were/are like that. However, I have been rather assertive in demarcating their and my boundaries. So, now, I believe they are slowly beginning to understand a different perspective: that familial relationships can be loving and nurturing without having to sacrifice privacy and autonomy.

    Incidentally, the day after I posted the above post, I decided to test my theory. And I was proved right! I asked my mom to give me some money to buy a DVD I wanted, some money to go shopping for clothes, and some money for travel. I said, “since you asked me not to spend my own money, here I am asking you for it.” When reality came face-to-face with her, when she realized the practical consequeces (of having to give me money for everything I decide to ask for), she began questionning herself. She was hesitant to give me the money… and finally, she decided that it was best for me to use MY OWN money AS I SEE FIT.

    I think I taught her a valuable lesson in not losing sight of the link between the ideas you espouse that the actions they generate in reality.

  5. davidbdale said

    My guess is that Mom and Dad didn’t want to meddle in your spending habits, they wanted to meddle in your savings plan.

  6. Freeda said

    LOL….Just to add that I had to hear the other side of it too…Mom:”You’ll think that just because you went to America, you can live like that, you and your brother are living like wild horses (aliche vita kala)”

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