Overheard in Central Phoenix

Overheard in PhoenixI’ll admit to voyeuristic tendencies, at this time manifested through people-watching and eavesdropping on public conversations. I have such a strong interest in people, I find myself picking up on snatches of conversation and allowing my mind to run wild. Tonight I was out for froyo, and while my dessert companion perused his phone, I tuned into the conversation occurring between two women a table away. I’ll paraphrase what I caught…basically one woman was asking the other why a certain couple was together when the guy seemed to hit on every woman around him. The other woman answered that she thinks it’s because the other half went to beauty school when she was eighteen and was there for him when he was in pharmacy school and she packed his lunches every day and they just decided to make it work. And you know, she was there before he had money, so…

So, what? What does “they decided to make it work” mean? Especially when the subjects (I assume) are people in their twenties. Why in the world should two people so young decide to make a relationship “work”? What about breaking up and working on themselves, or working it with other people, better suited? If you’re fitting square peg in a round hole at 25, what the hell will that look like at 40? I’m not sure I understand folks who fall in love and decide there’s no going back for various reasons. Especially when it’s clear nothing is working and bitterness and resentment are involved. Gross. I’ve had people tell me it’s too late, or too hard or too weird to start over. That chills me to the bone, because what I hear is total resignation, which is the opposite of passion. And if there’s no passion, then what’s it for? If nothing’s working, I don’t understand how you can just decide to make it. I don’t think it works that way. I think what people are really saying is they’ve reached a comfort zone, and that familiarity is of highest value. To me that seems a sort of death. It’s not sexy.

And let’s just go right into women (or men) that were “there” before the money came. What is THAT about? What I hear in that line of reasoning disturbs me. A statement like that assumes that money is of highest value, and that many or most people are interested most in that commodity. It also assumes that a person’s worth is directly proportional to their bank balance. I mean, we say all the time when asking about the very wealthy, “what’s she worth?” At worst it says that perhaps a certain person isn’t lovable or desirable without money. That’s cynical and sad. But does it make someone a better person to hang on to a relationship that involves little money? Is money so important that showing respect to someone without it is a sign of good character? What if the person puts up with being broke but is otherwise abusive? P.S. this line of inquiry is coming directly from class of 1998’s “Most Likely to Marry for Money”.

I found out this evening that somewhere in Phoenix a hair stylist and her pharmacist husband are having problems because he won’t stop flirting with (and who knows, maybe fucking) any woman he sees. She hung on to him because her ambitions or access didn’t reach beyond cosmetology school when she was a teenager. He didn’t have money then, and was only a student himself. They knew it wasn’t the right relationship, but they tried to make it work anyway and he married her because she proved trustworthy for staying before the big checks rolled in. Now they’re publicly cracking, for everyone to see. What choices are these people making, and why? Where will they end up?

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4 thoughts on “Overheard in Central Phoenix

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