I’ve already mentioned my erstwhile friend Diana, who sublet her Notting Hill Gate flat to me when I moved to London in 1979 (Small pleasures from small favours). For the first six months, the flat was still in her name and so were all the utility bills: I gave her the money and she paid them – or so I thought until, one day, I found I couldn’t use the phone because the line had been cut off. Art-loving Diana had bought some pieces in a Stratford gallery. I was livid: that money didn’t belong to her; it didn’t even belong to me; it belonged to British Telecom.
I was reminded of her behaviour earlier today when I read a comment on a blog in which the commenter boasted she was thousands of dollars in debt, but still managed to save for luxuries – to make herself feel better, she said. You cannot save money that doesn’t belong to you. You have no business buying luxuries when you owe money to others. You’re not ‘worth it’! You don’t ‘deserve it’! You are being irresponsible and it’s partly because of people like you that people like me, who always strive to live within their means, are in trouble. I am losing money daily because interest rates are now practically nil in this country, lower than inflation anyway. Forget luxuries, I need that money to live on. For the sake of my health, I’m trying not to get het up about things I can’t do anything about, but that made my blood boil.
Slapping selfish, irresponsible people! There are so many of them.