The Diary of Ashley Spencer: Home—and Not Just for the Holidays
Last week, I wrote about my conundrum: to move out, or not to move out?
Well, I've made what one might call a fiscally responsible decision (doesn’t that sound about as fun as sitting through a six-hour lecture on hedge funds?) I decided that despite my urge to be young, fun, and confused while living in my own apartment in downtown Chicago, it would be a lot cheaper to be young, boring, and confused while living at home with my family—and paying no rent. Since I’m an admitted spoiled brat, I don’t contribute to buying the massive amounts of food it takes to satisfy me and my rapper brother, plus my mom buys me everything I need besides clothing—including deodorant—because that’s the price mothers have to pay to have a beautiful live-in comedic daughter who makes you laugh until you pee your pants (more on this later).
So, did I do it all for money, or did I secretly wonder if I would miss my family, especially during the holiday season?
Let’s put it this way: If I had a soft spot in my heart, I’d say I’d miss drinking coffee every morning with my mom out of our matching BFF mugs. I’d say I’d miss coercing my father into giving me 20 bucks so that I won’t tell my mom he got so drunk he locked himself in the screened-in back porch for hours the other night. I’d say I’d miss my brother and the talks we have about his future career as a rapper. If I had a soft spot in my heart, no amount of money would make a difference. But that’s what it came down to: cash money, y’all. And as I write this, my brother’s laying down a track about it: " I got my sista/ she live with ‘da rents, no mista/ cash is king/ she’s a fallen queen/ she’s 23, ain’t seen no peen." (Look for his eponymous album, "Boof DA TRuFF,” to drop sometime next year, mang.)
I feel pretty good about my decision, as it has afforded me the means to buy a pair of black leather motorcycle boots that not only make me look vaguely rich, but also fit my abnormally muscular calves. My calves are abnormally muscular because like my dad, Edward “Special Ed” Spencer, I walk on my toes. I’ve been doing this for all the 23 years of my life. Which brings me to this: I turned 23 this weekend.
I think when I was about 13 and pictured myself ten years into the future, I imagined I’d be:
1. Indefinitely cooler, with a leather jacket to match my leather boots, and probably a leather couch in my gorgeous penthouse apartment complete with granite counter tops, which would be really fun for me and my boyfriend to cook on and smooch each other on top of—while continuing to cook, of course. Rachael Ray taught me that.
2. Living with a man named Charles, or a dog named Chuck (neither of which would poop on the shower rug in the bathroom or under my bed, like my current dogs do)
3. Working at YM or Seventeen, two publications I regarded as the pinnacle of journalistic achievement as a young girl who read interesting profiles on powerful figures in the media—including in-depth analyses of which boy band really ruled the world: 98 Degrees, *Nsync or BSB. (That's Backstreet Boys, for all you young folk.)
4. Surrounded by immediate family members who were properly potty-trained, unless I already had an unusually beautiful son called Hanson, named after one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
But now I’ve reached the age of 23, and it turns out I'm:
1. Lost. Not only am I not sure if I’m taking the right bus to work half the time, but I’m not even sure where I work half the time. I oftentimes tell people I am homeless and sell M&Ms outside the train station.
2. Alone. No one really cares about me, except those related to me by blood. And since my mother is adopted, not even my own grandmother cares about me. When I brought her a 4-foot Christmas tree for her apartment while wearing a little Santa suit this weekend (on my own birthday) she scrooged me and said that she didn’t want it. She told me I needed to leave so she could make her bridge-game-and-mimosas date. "Tootles," she said, handing me her garbage to dump on my way out.
3. Deflated. Like the bag of multi-colored balloons my mom bought but never inflated because it was “too hard” and “too much work” for her this weekend. She was busy peeing. Wait for it….
4. Disgusted. This weekend, for my birthday, my three friends came over and decorated the Christmas tree and gorged on pizza. It was just like my birthday party in the 2nd grade, when the same three friends and I made gingerbread houses, ate pizza, and decorated my house. This made me sad. It made my friends and my mom laugh hysterically. As I delivered a comedic rant on the subject of my pathetic birthday party, my mom, bloated from Thanksgiving dinner, my birthday feel-better food, and several special pick-me-up drinks, peed her pants. In front of my friends. While wearing a robe. I can’t make this stuff up. The incident also makes me wonder if I was swimming in a pool of urine the entire summer while we sunbathed on our rafts in our yard. I hope not?
But after further reflection, I decided maybe pee and peeing is what make holidays tolerable—fun, even. Did you ever play with a new Baby Alive, that H20-filled doll, and get a sudden urge to urinate? It could happen to me, to you, to anyone. Have you ever peed on your brother’s rug to get back at him for eating all the gingerbread cookies? I considered that only this last weekend at my mother’s urging. Have you ever peed on Santa’s lap when you were little? I haven’t, but there’s still time. I’m only 23, after all.
Got any ideas on how Ashley can improve her life? She needs all the advice she can get. Leave your idea in the comments, and maybe, because she's desperate for change, she'll try it.