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  • I bought a new coffee maker tonight. It is big and red and shiny and has delay brew, a special water filter, a strong brew option, and an auto shutoff. I spent $40. And that was $10 off the original price.

    But you are angry. You think it’s a frivolous, thoughtless spend. Unnecessary. "You really want to spend money on *this*? A $15-20 basic model would have been fine," you say. About this, you are right. "You wanted what you wanted and didn’t think about what else you’re gonna spend money on," you say. About this you are wrong. Very. Wrong.

    I lingered in the aisle with the big, red, shiny machine for a long time, weighing my options among what I thought were the only options – this was the cheapest, but also loveliest. It wasn’t the $165 super thermal decanter model, or the $70 whatever fancy model. It was the responsible, affordable $50 model.

    And it’s red.
    And on sale.

    But then I wondered about those mythical $15-20 models I know exist because we own one. Well, owned. The one I shattered in the driveway when we moved back in from house sitting. I rounded the corner in Target and there they were, in all their unexciting, single-button disappointment. They didn’t have our 7+ year-old model or a replacement decanter to fit. It was either $18.79 for a single button, no clock, no delay, no auto shut off, no joy model, or $39.99 for big, red, shiny, enhanced-taste, extra-filtered, bell-and-whistly happiness.

    I thought about all the clothes I’d tried on and put back. About the Fabletics subscription I could skip for the month. About the therapist’s expenses. About all my drinks for work and the Ubers. About the TAP Metro card I just purchased to help ease the hassle of sharing a car in Los Angeles. And I thought about you. What you’d want me to do. What you’d *tell* me to do. How I’d have to fight for Big Red if I wanted him. How you’d prefer I get silver or black anyways if you even agreed to the price. How I’d feel like a child walking to the register with my base model black, single-button coffee maker – pouting, mad at you for squelching my fun for what amounts to about $20, mad at myself for caring so damn much. It’s an appliance. My favorite, my prized appliance, but an appliance nonetheless.

    And so without you there, I made a decision. For me and only me. I wanted Big Red, so I chose Big Red. And I brought him home and unpackaged him and washed him with care and set his fancy clock and figured out the delay brew and slid him back on the counter next to our roommate's red Vitamix and I smiled. I didn’t care that you were mad or didn’t get it or wished I hadn’t spent the money. I have a small paragon of independence. A little piece of kitchen space totally, completely my own.

    I have Big Red, and for tonight, I am happy.
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