For those of you who are not aware, my wife has become a minimalist. She has decluttered our lives to the point of no return. It seems that mimimalists can never be satisfied with not having less than they need. She buys the only the bare essentials, the necessities, as she likes to refer to it, and nothing more. I have questioned this movement, and after much soul searching, and self examination, do not share the same extreme views. It really makes absolutely no difference, as my wife has taken over control of our spending.
I know that she means well, and I am aware that she is trying to save money for us in the event that there is some sort of emergency somewhere down the road. I, however, would much rather be sitting in a parked car at the side of the road, drinking beer, and eating a burger, than moving down the road, sucking on rice and beans. I informed my wife that I would be starting my own movement, my own philosophy, The maximalists. Our philosophy is quite simply do it now. Buy it now. Enjoy it now. The future may not come. It is in direct contrast to my wife’s philosophical bent, but we manage to coexist.
As I said, she has taken control of the money. I am not really sure how. I don’t remember a coup of any kind, but she has the control. She tells me that I willingly gave it to her, but that is not likely. I just wouldn’t do that. It is more likely than not, she has inflicted upon me one of those Moroccan, voodoo spells, which has allowed her to usurp control of the money, and the power to make financial decisions.
Now, I enjoy take out food. I enjoy it more than home cooked food, unless there is a brisket, or a turkey involved. My wife advised that there will be no more take out food. Everything we eat, must be made at home with food we have in the house at the time. I tried to make it work, I really did, but I just couldn’t figure out what to make with blueberries, chick peas, relish, and potatoes.
“What are you having for dinner?”, she asked me as I came in the door, torn and tattered from the events of the day, and worn and weary from the ensuing minefield I would be forced to maneuver as I entered the conversation we ere about to have.
“I don’t know.”, I replied. “I haven’t really thought about.”
“Well”, she stated, “I’m hungry!”
“Then you should eat.”, I told her.
“But I don’t know what i want.”, she replied.
“Is that now a consideration?”, I asked. “Just make something with the food we have here.”
“There’s nothing good here.”, she said. “I want something good.”
“Like what?”, I asked her.
“I think I want ribs.”, she replied.
“Uh huh.”, I remarked. “So you have decided to become a part time minimalist?”
“No. But I want Chinese food.”, she explained. “Ribs, rice, and 2 egg rolls. Do you want something?”
“From where?”, I inquired.
There’s only 1 place my wife can eat Chinese food at due to all of her food allergies and sensitivities, and I hate it. Really. The food is barely recognizable as food, and they take forever to deliver.
“Can we afford to order in?”, I asked. “What about the future emergency you have been planning for?”
“This is an emergency.”, she informed me. “I’m hungry. Do you want me to get you something?” Oh, those minimalists! $50 worth of Chinese food, and I can’t get $5 for a bagel and coffee at Tim Horton’s!
“I don’t know.”, I answer. “I’d have to look at the menu.”
“We don’t have one. I threw it out when we decided that we weren’t going to order in anymore.”, she told me.
“To be clear”, I reminded her, “we never decided anything. You decided.” My wife informed me that its not important who decided. She said I should remember that we are in this together, and she is only trying to help us save some money for the inevitable, mystery emergency.
“Okay”, she said, “I have the menu online. See what you want so I can order already. I’m hungry.”
I must have read that menu 3 or 4 times, and still nothing appealed to me. “Well?”, she asked, growing more impatient by the nano second.
“Just get me a won ton soup, and a large fresh watermelon bubble tea, no tapioca.”
“I don’t think that’s enough for free delivery.”, she said.
“So pay the delivery charge.”, I told her.
“Are you crazy?”, she asked. “Its $3.50.”
“So you want me to order more food to avoid paying the delivery charge? ”
“Ya.”, she said.
“Okay”, I said as I looked at the menu once again. “The cheapest thing on the menu is $6. You understand that we are now paying $2.50 more than if we just pay the delivery charge?”
“Just get 2 spring rolls or something.”, she said. “They’re $2 each. That will be enough for free delivery.”
“That still costs more than the delivery charge.”, I remind her.
“Yes, but at least you’ll have the food. At least you’re getting something or the money.”
“But I don’t want any spring rolls.”, I told her. “Just soup and a bubble tea. If you want me to get something else, get me another bubble tea.”
“We don’t have money for that.”, she said. “They’re almost $7.”
“Whatever.”, I said. “Just order the food. I’ll pay for the delivery charge.”
“No.”, she stated rather firmly. “Its the principle.”
“Whatever you decide.”, I told her.
About an hour later, there was a knock on the door. I opened it and was surprised to find a Swiss Chalet delivery man standing there. I called my wife and she came to pay the bill.
“What happened to the Chinese food?”, I asked.
“I changed my mind.”, she said. “You were making it too complicated, and I know you don’t like South China’s food, so I just ordered Swiss Chalet.”
“But I was really looking forward to the bubble tea.”, I told her.
“I got you the chicken spring rolls, and the 1/4 chicken, white meat. And, I got you an iced tea.”
These are the moments when I realize that I really don’t care if my wife is a minimalist, or a communist. I’m just glad that she’s my wife.
“Thank you.”, I said. I kissed her on the forehead as I reached for cutlery.
“You’re welcome.”, she replied. “But this is the last time. Starting tomorrow, we eat whatever we can find here.”
I looked at her in disbelief. I had heard the “This is the last time” line many, many times before, and it never really is.
“I mean it.”, she said. “No more ordering in.”
“I understand.”, I told her. “By the way, I have a late meeting at the school board tomorrow. Can I get $5 for coffee at Tim’s?”
“Do you know how much we just spent on dinner?”, she asked. And there it was, proof positive that a minimalist can fall off the wagon, and get right back up again, faster than you can pick up a knife and fork.
When I woke in the morning, I went out to collect my bags for work. There, on my desk, was a $5 bill, with a note. ‘Have a good day. Good luck with your maximalism. Love you.’
God, how I adore this woman.