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Life Arts    H2'ed 7/18/15

When and Why Love Must Sometimes Be Up for Sale

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Money as fertalizer for love
Money as fertalizer for love
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Note: Certain 'facts' have been changed so as to protect the identity of the two people in this story.

As a close friend of mine recently wrote to his girlfriend . . or should I say, his former girlfriend,

"I know that you are very upset with me because I mentioned the taboo subject yet again, even after promising once more that I would never do it again. But the main purpose of this letter is not to yak about that; it is to tell you something else, which I think very important: I think I may finally understand why you are so reluctant to begin accepting any of your Social Security payments for the next couple of years: it's so you can get those larger checks that will then come 10 or 11 years from now, if you wait long enough before beginning to collect. But more than that, it is that your greatest dream in life is to finally open your bistro (at age 74?! -- better late than never -- and you know it will take as much investment money as possible, from you, in order to get the kind of loan, the right workers (graduates of a culinary academy you said), and the location you need, for it to be successful. You're probably aware of the fact that a third of all new restaurants fail within the first 5 years, and you don't want yours to be one of them.

"Unfortunately, however, this time I really have run out of money with which to help you any longer, toward this goal. I "loaned" you all I could over these past 2 years, to prevent you from dropping me, and now that I really have run out, STILL can't find a job, AND no longer have an apartment of my own (and being evicted by a landlord who knows he can get so very much more for this place, now that so many exceptionally well-paid Silicon Valley types are working in San Francisco and looking for nearby housing, thereby bidding up all home and apartment prices into the stratosphere), I'm pretty sure you are finally going to drop me for good, having threatened to do so several times before, when I violated this taboo.

"I've figured out that having a better shot at getting your restaurant up and running 10 years hence -- or maybe it's just financial security in old age -- is more important to you than maintaining your loving relationship with me. Continually jobless both, because of this damned economy, neither one of us can any longer afford a decent place to live on our own. Your pension and my Social Security check are just not enough for something like that anymore. At one time, before home prices went up, we could of course have rented a small house together, were it not for your strong preference to live alone -- a privilege for which I have for 2 years been helping you pay. Then too, you don't want to take the chance of becoming saddled with a guy so much (12 yrs) older than you, who, in a decade, may well be dying from cancer or something.

"So here we are, my inheritance money gone and still no job, causing me to be about to move, as a renter, into the house of a woman for whom I have no romantic or sexual feelings, to live cheek by jowl with her, her obese and neurotic daughter and grand-daughter, while you with no car that the Department of Motor Vehicles will let you drive legally (because of all the money you owe them), and with way too little money for your groceries and meds.

"Of course you've always reminded me that there are several men, not 'cheap' like me, waiting in the wings, to give you the romance-and-money you need, should you ever need to get it from one of them, so I guess your problems may very well be short lived, if indeed you haven't solved them already.

"And even if, by some miracle, you don't drop me, or haven't already, it looks like all I will be able to afford, in my attempt to entertain you and keep you, from now on, is the money it will take to pay for a motel and a couple of restaurant meals in Pt. Reyes, twice a month. You do understand, I'm sure, that without any savings left, and still no job, if I were to spend what little money I have on anything other than that, I would then lack the money necessary to provide even that place on the coast for us, for a day or two, twice a month -- someplace where we could be together and have some privacy, now that my beautiful and spacious apartment is soon to be gone. Thus, with you living so far away, in an environment I detest (because of the constant television noise in a one-room cottage), we would have no time to spend alone with each other, near the kind of beautiful coastal areas we love so much.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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