Oh, I have had it. I am sick to death of being poor. I don't mean I'm living in the streets, for heaven's sake - so actually, my notion of being poor is a pretty damn upper-middle class one. But by that standard, I assure you, I am poor, poor, poor.
I can vaguely manage to keep the bills sort of paid (i.e., I pay what's current, which keeps the lights and the cable and computer and cell phone and landline on) - but that's it. I mean, combined with the fact that being currently underinsured, I have to pay full price for five prescriptions per week.
So the weekly budget looks like this:
Prescriptions: $113.00 and change
Whatever bill has to be paid that week: $150.00 (roughly)
Daily to get around and get to work and feed cats and have a couple of beers (and I mean two - in a can - at home): $140.00 (that's $20 a day)
That's $403.00. That leaves a ripe old $95 bucks for anything else - such as groceries, pantyhose, deodorant, body wash, toothpaste - you know, those basics.
Welcome to Manhattan. Have you any idea what it's like to live like this in NYC? There are no movies, there is no going out to eat, there is, for that matter, damn little to eat to begin with. Lunches are made at home and brought with me. I haven't eaten a steak in longer than I can remember - if, by some miracle, I don't have a bill to pay, I get some London broil - close, but no cigar. No treats of any kind.
And it's even more annoying because I have an eating disorder. No, no, not one of those awful ones - just a plain old stress eating disorder, meaning that when I get stressed (and on this budget, I assure you, I'm ALWAYS stressed), I can't eat. I don't mean I have no appetite - I mean my throat closes on me and I can't swallow. I have discovered over the years of living with this stupid thing that there is a way to solve it...but unfortunately, it requires seriously thinking about what I might want to eat that would taste better than anything in the whole world and then going out and buying it. Since my tastes tend to be very thoroughly on the champagne side, this does me no good at all. I mean, what I really wanted to do tonight was to go to Gourmet Garage and spend twenty bucks on a little container of red salmon caviar, some creme fraiche, some really good butter, and a little package of their blinis - followed by a big bowl of blueberries with sugar and more creme fraiche. You melt some butter, warm up the blinis in the microwave, dip them in the butter, then slather them with creme fraiche and caviar. Then you eat an enormous bowl of blueberries with creme fraiche and sugar. It's the absolutely perfect meal.
So I had a hamburger. I did manage to eat it (the rot hasn't thoroughly set in yet and I'm still eating - I once had an awful year where everything in the whole world went wrong and I ended up at 94 pounds with malnutrition - we're certainly not back there), but as far as satisfaction goes, it filled the belly and that's about it.
And have you ever noticed that if you want healthy food you have to pay through the nose for it? I know I've touched on this before, but then I was speaking globally - now I'm just talking about personal experience. If I want a V-8 to drink, which is good for me, it's $2.50. A can of diet soda is 95 cents. If I want a dish of cottage cheese with fresh fruit on top, in my office cafeteria, it'll run me close to three bucks. A frosted doughnut from the wagon outside is 60 cents. Hot dog on the street? $1.50-$2.00, depending on the neighborhood. Large healthy salad? $6.00 to $8.00. Do we see a pattern here? All over the place, every single day, we are bombarded by articles telling us to eat right, transfats are banned, McDonald's is supposed to post calorie counts. What the hell good is all of this nanny state behavior if no one is making healthy food affordable?
Oh, growl. I want my nice caviar. And I want my nice filet mignon. And I want to be able to buy the tiny little luxuries I want - like a magazine. And I want to go out to dinner and the movies.
Of course I also want to spend a week in Key West and take off for London. Yeah, well - you can take the girl away from the champagne, but you can't stop her dreaming!