Tim and I have always been careful spenders. We've had to be. Our thriftiness has worked out for us.
Sometimes, it seems like the younger generation does not get this. It seems as if they expect that with absolutely no effort on their part, life will work out magically. They will have everything. They don't need to count pennies. They don't need to be careful. I watch them, and I don't understand them.
Today, a guy came into the store, nice kid. Early 3os, I'd guess. One of the things that he's buying is some spot weld epoxy. You cannot sell it to anyone under 18. Kids huff it. So I fixed him with a look and said, "You're not going to huff this are you?" and he laughed. "No," he said, "my gas tank leaks. I've been putting two gallons of gas in at a time for the last week." I winced. "What kind of a truck do you have?" and he answered "A Chevy pickup. Should replace the whole dang truck, probably, but I can't afford it." I looked at him, standing there. Hard working guy with dirty hands, tired face. "Were you able to get a gas tank for it?" and he said he got a used one, for $40. I said, "Well, if you need Chevy truck parts, you stop in and tell me what you need. My husband has a parts truck. We'll see what we can do for you." He said, "I don't have the money to do a lot right now. I just need to keep it running." I said, "You don't worry about that. You need help, you stop in. We'll see what we can do for you." He looked at me with such an odd look. "You know," he said. "My wife was always so stressed about the bills. I never got that. I thought she was being silly. I'm by myself now. My wife left me. I'm looking at these bills. The heat. The electric. I get it now. I understand why she was so afraid all the time. I keep thinking that if I am careful, and pay these bills down, maybe she'll come back to me." I looked at him, and really, he just looked so sad that I wanted to swing around the counter and hug him like he was one of my own. Money problems are hard, and they will make or break a couple. I don't think that he knew this until now. He gathered up his things. "I believe that she'll come back to me."
I watched him walk out the door with his poor broken heart, and I hoped with all my heart that his wife comes back to him.