Decision Fatigue: Snaps Edition
We're living on a ridiculously low income right now, while Bad Cohen is in grad school. This is compounded by the fact that I haven't found steady work in the hellish economy that is Cleveland and our spaz of a kid is in an expensive private school because we didn't want to let his tiny spirit be crushed until he reaches middle school, like everyone else.
So my days are an unending barrage of decisions about making trade-offs in which I end up feeling guilty and besieged no matter what I choose: I can buy unethical, factory farmed, cheap food and worry that I'm poisoning my family, or outrageously expensive organic food and worry that we'll use up all our money and be out on the streets; I can spend the next hour trolling for jobs that have over 200 applicants and low wages and won't meet our schedule or building my freelance website for work that people need but don't want to pay for, or goof off by doing fun design work that builds my portfolio but that I can't sell because everyone's getting similar stuff for cheap on Etsy.
Enter the jeans.
The Kid is growing all the time. Growing means new clothes. Clothes are freaking expensive, especially given that he'll tear through the knees of a new pair of pants within about a month. So we put out the call to relatives for bargain-hunting on used clothes in his sizes. One great-aunt came through with an awesome stash that included jeans he loved.
Now, The Kid is a sweatpants kind of guy. Part of his MO has always been refusal to wear anything the slightest bit form-fitting or complicated. Finding jeans he likes is only slightly less amazing than wondering how Superman gets into a skin-tight suit in the confines of a phone booth.
The jeans he loves are missing one part of the snaps.
(Head, meet wall.)
At this point, I can either find a matching snap (nearly impossible) or remove the remaining old one (which idea makes the fabric store personnel raise their eyebrows and start backing slowly away). Also, they don't sell a pair of snaps (the two parts that go together); they sell multiples. Plus the special "snap tools" you need to install them.
After 10 minutes, I calculate that replacing the snaps on these jeans will cost upwards of $15 and require Herculean effort. It takes another 20 minutes of back and forth on the merits of this particular pair of (free but useless) jeans for me to completely lose it and end up sobbing in the car.
I'm an editor. I'm used to making tough decisions on a tight deadline with high stakes. But I was reduced to a puddle over a pair of used jeans. And then what I really wanted was to go buy and eat an entire pint of Haagen Dazs (@cost = 1/4 of a pair of new jeans).
It seems that my 2013 insight is into what keeps the poor entrenched in poverty. It's not pretty.