Time ticks on and it’s now been almost two years since I got paid. I never meant to be sans income for this long. In case you forgot, I did come to France with a plan for work. I’m not going to rehash what happened there, it’s all in the book and in the spirit of two birds and one stone, go buy one and find out, thereby adding another $1.50 to my bank account. After I was thrust into indefinite unemployment (admittedly a self-inflicted wound), I had planned to be dependent on the kindness of my better two-thirds for only one year. What can I say? I’m an overachiever.

Anyway, I do have a little windfall on the horizon however small that windfall may be and however distant said horizon. See when you write a book you get paid in royalties but only twice a year, after the book has been in circulation over 6 months. In my case that means the first money will appear sometime in November. And I don’t expect those royalties to be significant. Don’t get me wrong, I will twirl about waving that cheque like it’s a winning lottery ticket, but the only similarities between the two will be that they’re both made of paper.

So in the meantime I shall keep my belt tight and continue with my austerity measures, which is all the rage in Europe these days. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, it’s dead easy. I don’t want for anything so I don’t need to finance material desires. It’s interesting because while I was in Canada, there was a distinct pull to purchase — food, clothing, services, whatever — I could see that it wouldn’t take much to be drawn back to my former mindlessly spending self. Within a day I was watching HGTV whenever possible and planning a renovation of every room I walked into.

Of course I was also sucked into the road rage vortex of hell. I wasn’t driving in the city for more than 40 minutes when I found myself huffing and puffing at the molasses arse in front of me, mentally screaming, “The gas is on the right YOU BLOODY MORON!”  Clearly me being all zen-like and minimalist is tenuous at best, dependent solely on living in a town that doesn’t have a traffic light, a plethora of boutiques or a Home Depot.

But, perhaps ironically, another thing I’ve found that keeps me in check is the actual beauty of the stores here. Take this little shop I passed by on my recent trip to Avignon…

I love these Frenchy shops. The chapeau lights kill me. I get so busy admiring the storefronts that I forget all about wanting to actually go in and buy something. It’s enough to just gaze at the window. That and a dozen reminders from Rusty that I don’t need a straw fedora are all it takes to keep the Visa in lock down mode.

But come November, when that cheque makes an appearance, I’m going hogwild. I’m marching right up to that supermarket in town and treating myself to the best pair of socks in the place. I might even splash out on a new tea towel. Just let him try and stop me.

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