The Things We Buy To Pretend We’re Someone Else

So when I was out shopping for all of my kitchen essentials I told myself I would buy one treat. One beautiful thing that would make my apartment feel like a real, grown-up home.

That’s how I ended up paying $19.99 for an essential oil diffuser. That’s the kind of thing that fancy grown-up people with calm, centered lives put into their homes, right? Look at that glass bottle, with its real wood sticks! This is no plastic Glade Plug-In Squirty Mist Product. It has essential oils. That means it’s essential to life, or something.

I diffused that oil for about 20 minutes before I had the worst headache. The only thing that was essential was that I put the stopper back into the bottle and take two Advil.

I don’t know what went wrong, in terms of me being the one person whose body cannot handle the calming influence of vanilla-infused essential oil, but the irony is not lost on me that the one useless trinket I bought for my new apartment turned out to be, in fact, useless.

So that $19.99 was gone, because I couldn’t take a partially diffused bottle of essential oil back to the Bed Bath & Beyond.

It’s making me wonder if I’m just built for practicality. Aside from my kitchen shopping, the one thing I’ve bought for my apartment that feels delightful every time I use it is this desk lamp that also charges my phone and laptop. It cost $9.99, and it charges my phone and laptop, and every time I turn it on I think I am the luckiest duck.

But, like, wind chimes and essential oil diffusers and hanging plants and all this stuff that feels like it could make sense in my life, in the life where I am a calm and serene woman who glides barefooted through her home with her watering can, might actually literally be poison. (I meant the figurative kind of literally, there.)

I am the kind of person who prefers my plants already dead. I don’t go barefoot, and my socks are printed with “don’t be trashy: RECYCLE!” I don’t really know what essential oil is, except for the idea that a certain kind of person keeps an essential oil diffuser in her home, and I thought I would treat myself by pretending I was that kind of person.

At least it only cost me $19.99.

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