The day started like any other day. I headed to lunch with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years. You never really know what to expect when catching up with an old friend, especially one that is doing well for herself financially. But believe me when I tell you nothing could have prepared me for what happened at that table. Never in my life have I witnessed something so horrifying: my rich friend ordered a bottle of sparkling water for the table.
Who was this person and why the hell was she trying to drain my bank account?
Let me explain how I got here. It was a normal Wednesday, and we had just been seated when the server asked if we wanted tap, still, or sparkling water. I looked at Melissa to give her the “obviously tap” head nod, but before I understood what was happening she turned to the server and said, “Sparkling.”
Needless to say, I was in shock.
My mind was running a mile a minute: Did she mean to order the sparkling? Did she assume the server would take a separate water order from me? That assumption seemed less unbelievable than her expecting me to chip in for this $7 luxury beverage.
Looking back, the warning signs had been there: in the past, she’d often shown up to gatherings with bottles of expensive wine and would later Venmo charge everyone for it. Worse even, she bought bottles of Fiji water at coffee houses that had free water pitchers out for use.
I should have known better than to let her make a decision as big as what kind of water we should drink for lunch. My mistake.
I purposely avoided the bottle, hoping she’d understand that because I am not partaking in the bubbly substance, I won’t be paying for it. However, I had no choice but to accept that I’d be paying for half of this dumb indulgence when she absentmindedly filled my glass after hers.
I could have spent that money on a beer! A latte! A Lyft to see another friend who wouldn’t expect me to drop so much fucking cash on water that is worse for you than the free kind!
When the meal ended, Melissa quickly slapped her card down on the check. When I offered to use my card instead she responded, “Don’t worry about it.” Sure enough, I received a charge later that night.
To all the women out there who have been charged for exuberant purchases that they did not want and barely sipped, let me tell you, I understand your plight. I am sorry. But I realized this trauma would never end after a text came soon after:
“We should hang out again soon!” said the message from Melissa. “I’ll bring wine.”