In the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, what's her name has a green scarf that she really loves and trades in to feed her shopping addiction. As all movies go, she eventually wants it back but it's now for sale in an auction, one she'll never be able to compete in. Anyway go and watch the movie, the point I want to drive home is that when her dreamy, dark haired new York love interest gives it back to her, he says something that I think about constantly (never mind that I watched the movie at maybe age 11). He says "Cost and worth are two different things".
I just walked out of Artistoc and my physical heart rate is normalizing now. Naturally, it hit the impressive high it usually does when I step into a room filled with books. My mental heart - the one that falls in love and breaks and things - usually picks a book for every time I visit a bookstore. Said book will be the one that haunts my dreams and thoughts until the next time I visit another bookstore. This book will be the one the book-devil (for I have several) constantly say "Can't believe you wouldn't let us read this book", everytime I try to do anything remotely creative. Last visit, the chosen one was Jennifer Nansubuga's Manchester Happened. Today, the choice was The Marvel Character Encyclopedia. It had a shiny silver hard cover and opened to an image of Iron Man flying in his suit. Inside, it gave the bio of every single character you ever saw in a Marvel movie, with a special section for the Avengers.
I went nuts y'all. I'd walk around the store and right back to that section to have another look at the book. I sent my nerd bestie a photo of the book. I imagined owning the book as I watched an MCU marathon. But most importantly, I imagined gifting my brother this book. He's 10 and loves computer games, computers, Marvel and everything cool. I like to think that my brother was my gift from the universe, that he was my very own nerd fellow but also nerd mentee. While I went ground nuts for that book, I'm pretty sure he'd go all out and be cashew nuts over that book. There was just one problem. The book cost 99,000 shillings.
Now you're probably thinking, "There's no way you can tell me you didn't have a spare 100k Sama". I know. Because in Kampala these days, plaiting your hair alone is 100k. 3 pairs of pants are 100k. A good meal for two and Cafe Javas is way over 100k. These are all things that I've done. So why doesn't 100k come through this time?
You probably know about my mum by now. I thought about her a lot as I left that book behind. Because the only was I could've bought my brother that book was if she was still here covering everything else, so I could be the big sister with a good job giving my favorite boy in the world a sort of pricey gift. But she isn't. And so it the cost of the book on my brother versus what 100k will be worth in his share of my savings shifts the paradigm completely. That's why my brother won't be getting the most awesome book I've seen this year as a random treat in the middle of the year.
Yeah but what if you'd spent it on yourself Sama? Well. Uganda is turning into a consumer's hell. Therefore to even be able to step out in public looking decent enough to fit right into my peer group and not leave my employer confused means I should've spent an unreasonable number in figures. Hundreds of thousands. If we've spoken, you also know that I tend to rationalize until it's annoying :) here we go again.
This rant was sponsored by circumstance. I know that we all have a struggle. Good luck with yours from me and mine. Hopefully, I'll be able to share more experiences with time.