America The Expensive

I have lived in these United States for nigh on sixteen years next July, first in the New city of York, and then in the even newer City Of Angels. Coming from Australia, I was initially flabbergasted by all the choices, even in the small corner stores in New York City called bodegas. Did we really need seven kinds of Ketchup at any time of the day or night? Was it the Lord’s intention that there be quite this many flavors of the beverage they called “Snapple?” Is this what they meant by “G-d bless America,” and that Star Spangled flag flapping in so many locations that it made my Antipodean eyes spin?

There is patriotism in Australia, but it is of an infinitely lower key and laconic sort, like the humor (or humour as it’s spelled there and in England.) In fact Australia had adopted a relaxed version of everything Ye Olde Britain had bequeathed eight score years ago when that fabled monarchy decided that a hot arid land by the equator would make an idea penal colony. That’s penal, not penile, although in my teenage years I certainly treated it like the latter. Sometimes I think I left Australia because I’d already fucked everyone on the island.My starry eyes however, no longer burn quite so brightly for my adopted land, as is natural after a decade and a half. While I once idolized everything from baseball to Chevrolet to apple pie, the Redsox are not in the playoffs this year, the Chevy I owned lost most of its market value and the apple pie started to look a little moldy around the edges. (Anyway doesn’t China own Chevy now?)

My main issue (I dare not say “complaint” as I am still afraid my Green card will be revoked in the night) is that the founding fathers’ idea of what this country should be has been completely overrun by a money machine so far reaching, that I have no idea how the statistically average person “makes it.”

For example, last night the kids and I had a great time playing “Tim Burton’s Night Before Christmas Monopoly” ($39.95 + Tax) until David, being a terminally sore loser and threw a massive tantrum, and pushed the dining chair ($165.00 on sale) into the dog (embarrassed to tell you the price of a pure bred labradoodle.) I yelled at him (free) as he ran to his room and no doubt threw himself on his bunk bed ($895 + tax and delivery.) Earlier when I drove him home in the Range Rover with ten million miles on it that hubby has lent me (no idea how much it’s worth but I plan to find out to see if I can unload it) had trouble making room for the kids amongst the groceries ($275.00, no coupons) that will likely last less than a week. Oh, did I mention I also had to stop off for the weekly fill of the gas tank ($107.00!!!! damn I miss the Prius, but if you want to lower your gas prices, prepare for the twenty plus grand up front investment.)

Are you getting the picture? We are not extravagant, we are simply being gouged for every dollar the same as every other U.S. citizen. And pardon me if I don’t want to feed our family genetically engineered processed junk full of high fructose corn syrup. Good fresh food around here costs a fucking fortune, and I know for a fact that the “farmers’ markets” jack up the prices for the Westside, to make you feel like you’re getting something “better.”

As a good culturally Jewish woman, I am faithful to the edict of trying to get the same thing for less money, so I regularly go over the hill to the valley to buy everything from groceries to art supplies, although I have to drive deep into the valley to get the real discounts and that’s more GAS. Are you getting the picture? As my husband is fond of saying as I call him to pay yet another bill, “Does it ever end?” “Yes,” I reply, “When you’re dead.”

The common expression “You can’t take it with you,” doesn’t even apply anymore, because by that time who has anything left to take? What am I going to put in my coffin, Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons?

Luckily my children have a preternatural gift for Monopoly, and this was almost their first time playing, as we didn’t have the game before. (Sure I could have found a plain old Monopoly possibly full of bed-bugs on Craig’s’ List for eight dollars fifty, but with Halloween coming up and all the good grades they’ve been getting lately, pardon me if I want to get it new. But 40 fucking dollars? For Monopoly?) Anyway, while I languished in Jail for roughly eight throws of the dice, and my children counted the five hundred dollar bills they were accumulating at a rapid pace, for a moment at least I didn’t worry that they would be able to make it in this new economic climate. Samson the real estate mogul and David the cash hoarder are going to be just fine. As for Mommy the Money Manager? Best leave me in Jail, sure I won’t collect $200 for passing GO, but at least I can’t buy anything.

3 comments

  1. I’ve heard the prices for some things are pretty high over in Australia that we get cheaply over here, like ground turkey. And I don’t smoke but a friend who was trying to quit just came back from several months in New Zealand and said that it helped that cigarettes were 14-18 dollars a pack. But you do get paid to have kids in Australia, which makes it tempting, lol. Anyway, some things are ridiculous here in the US but I’ve heard stories about having to pay for your silverware at restaurants in Germany and things that make me wonder about other countries.

    • I have traveled all over the world, and most places try to rip you off if you are a tourist. However, no one knows how to gouge its own middle class for every last penny like Los Angeles. In places like New York, London, and Hong Kong, the prices of rent are so prohibitive that people either move out of the city center, or live on canned beans and rice, reassuring themselves that they get to do so in a major metropolis. I know Monaco ain’t cheap, but most people who live there expect that and are billionaires. You can live in most parts of Australia on relatively little, compared to the States, if you know where to shop and how to manage your money. (I don’t, but I’ve seen it done.) This is all my opinion as a non-expert and should be taken as such, by the way.Thanks for your thoughtful response. By the way, as the worst reformed smoker ever, I wish cigarettes cost two hundred buck a pack; kill off the rich assholes all in one go. (kidding of course!)

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