It's not about the house.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Tramp's Story, Part IX: A Fool and Her Money

Con’t from previous post…

My Lady, see, she's very…

Well, I might as well just lay it out: she’s very rich. She inherited her money, she has never really worked, and – unless she goes on some kind of P. Diddy spending bender – there’ll be loads of it leftover when she’s gone. But if you met her you would never know. She lives in a two-room condo, for crying out loud, with thirty-year old Shaker furniture, and her biggest personal indulgence is local art. Granted, the condo is on Beacon Hill, but she paid cash for it ’81 so it probably cost her like a hundred bucks, and she hasn’t ever once in her life owned a car. She does happen to own a parking spot that’s worth more than my house, but that’s a story for another time.

The point is: My Lady is very aware of her good fortune at having been born into a cushy safety net. Because, see, the money’s not the reason she has never really worked, it’s just what allowed her to survive without the pressure. Lots of schizophrenic folks wind up wandering the streets, or hospitalized, or worse, and thanks to her inheritance she’s been stable now for quite a while. So she does her best to pay it forward to the universe.

She gives thousands to charity and spare change to homeless people. She funds children’s theater and food projects. She gives scholarships and land trusts and butterfly gardens, and is just generally – discerningly – philanthropic to a fault. I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that she's also been very generous to me over the years, but what I find most endearing is how exceedingly wise she is about her finances. Very wise, and very wary. My Lady is no chump, is what I mean.

She can smell for miles when a charity, a foundation, a friend or family member is circling to try to hit her up. When she senses it, she makes her yes or no decision in advance  -- if yes, then she decides how much -- and heads them off before they reach the pass. She's had the same accountant, bank, and broker for at least thirty years. When her trust fund account-exec retired, she had his replacement vetted and requested someone else.

Her phone number’s unlisted, naturally. And she never, never, never gives it out.

I meant to ask if I could have Maria call, I really did! But I meant to ask in person, when I saw her face to face! I didn’t know it would be happening so fast!

She was very nice about it. I apologized and said I didn't expect her to say anything that might make her uncomfortable. Once I reminded her, though, she did remember having been through this before, when I got the mortgage in the first place. All they wanted to know -- then, and now -- was simply that yes, I was employed by her, and for how long.

Okay, My Lady said. Maria could call back. She’d tell her.

Well. Before I even got off the house phone with My Lady, Maria was on my cell phone in a tizz. “It’s okay,” I reassured her. “I know it probably sounds shady, but My Lady understands now. She says that if you call her back, she’ll be happy to cooperate this time.”

“Hang on,” Maria said. “Are you a W-2 employee?”

“No,” I said. “She gives me a 1099. Why?”

“Well, on this form you sent you checked the box that says W-2.”


You see? You see how much fun it is being me? Don’t you wish we’d never embarked on this together in the first place? Who wants to guess how many more installments there will be?


Anonymous said...

Bring Henry back. I like him better than Maria

12ontheinside said...

OK, I guess either 4 to 6 more installments, all juicily spread out like these ones, or possibly and outside chance of you stuffing the rest into a quick summary because something else more exciting happens.

Janice said...

depends on how many threads you pick up to weave into it - could go on for the rest of the year if you wanted...

Khurston said...

i don't care anymore. don't ever tell me. i won't even listen if you do tell me.

Anonymous said...

I imagine this is what it felt like in Victorian England when you had to wait for the next installment of the newest serialized Dickens story. Mildly annoying yet is very effective in building the drama.

Jenni said...

We keep clicking back. Waiting. But maybe that is the point. :)

Khurston said...

OMG that's totally it! you've become a hit whore!