The Cuba Account

I’m having a crisis about the number of crises I’m supposed to be concerned about. We’ve got food, water, oil, energy and a serious clean undie crisis in our house – due to the incessant rain. I’m finding it hard to muster the energy to be concerned about the lack of water in the globe when rather a lot of it is dripping through my ceiling.

If you’re one of those really organised women who have the perfect house, man, children, and can afford to care what your cutlery looks like or feel depressed about your investment portfolio - do not read this column. If, on the other hand you are the kind of woman who runs away with a taxi driver from Buenos Aires (that was me) or a Brazillian bongo player (that was my mate) or someone who has three pre-schoolers, works two jobs and worries that the gaping hole in one of her teeth would possibly be cheaper to fix if she went to a guy working out of a subway in Thailand, then you may find something in the following to lift your heart a little. I’m talking about ‘The Cuba Account’.

In a dank Wellington flat where I spent whole days studying in my sleeping bag, I would get out my old ‘Dragon’ album and be transported to Cuba – in the April sun, from the first 3 seconds of those ecstatic thumping rum soaked beats of that song. It was my mantra of escape. One day, I would sit, in April in Cuba when this studying lark had paid off. I didn’t realise then that a BA in Eastern Religions, Wimmin’s Literature and probably a paper in knitting as feminist rebellion were about as useful as tits on a man in terms of getting paid to do anything and probably a quicker route to Cuba, would have been a Business Admin degree at Massey and then a job in a bank. And then one morning I woke up in a rented house in the suburbs of Northland with a 6 month old baby, 2 jobs and the knowledge that although my partner had once been the yo-yo champion of Argentina this was unlikely to bring us fame or fortune. We budgeted hard and got a house, but for the next 3 years ‘the budget’ squeezed every bit of joy – from Sunday papers to coffees, out – the disposable income had been disposed of entirely. I was feeling the drudge. And I started to mind that I had never got to Cuba.

Then I noticed a group of new immigrant women that I worked with always managed to get away on small trips despite living on tight budgets. While the blokes were away fishing they spent the $10 a week they’d taken out of the grocery money by doing something fun. I liked it a lot. The Cuba Account was born.

I and my two amigas now put 15 dollars a week into the account. In as little as 8 months we had a night in Auckland complete with a great dinner out and quite a few great bottles of wine. We planned Cuba. We ordered another bottle. We stayed up all night and slept in all morning ordering lattes in bed. Only women with small children would actually get the cheap thrill of this so I’m only talking to you. We decided that in 4 years we’d be in Cuba. We would take photos of ourselves drinking cocktails and smoking cigars and write ‘Because we’re worth it’ underneath. We would dance. With all this crisis talk it’s great to have friends and a bit of fun. Every budget has to contain room for friends and The Cuba Account. Bored with budgets? Tired of the city life? Summer’s on the run. People tell me I should stay. But I’ve got to get my sun. So don’t try to hold me back. Ain’t nothin’ you can say. Snake eyes on the paradise … and we got to go today…da da dada da….

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