Saturday, July 31, 2010

Broke in Burlington

As if floundering about (read: sinking) in my love life and getting let go from my summer job wasn't enough, I recently overdrew my bank account (rent) and worked my way into a goodly sum of overdraft (again, imagine the cost of my rent,) and down to the last $5 in my wallet. "Stressed" and "rough patch" don't even begin to describe the situation I'm in. I've prostituted myself to every worthwhile job position I could find, and spent an afternoon seriously considering debuting in porn after seeing the dollar amount tacked on to the job. (But just like egg donation, I nixed that idea. Porn because, well, though I may watch it, I don't really want to be so interactive in it, and the egg donation because for the rest of my life I'd be doing double-takes at every blonde, blue-eyed child, wondering if it's mine. And with the smoking, I'm not exactly an ideal candidate. Like every other job, so it seems.) I already sold all the clothing I could to Plato's Closet, and unlike last summer's period of saintly rest from the wicked, I don't have the spoils of my bad habits to exchange for cash. I'm using them myself. I have to. It's what's brightening my days.

The good news is, there are 22 cigarettes, 9 beer, half a tank of gas, half a bag of cat food, and half a box of kitty litter left. There's food in the pantry, so I'm playing the game of "what can I make with what's left over?" But you can only get so far without milk, meat, or chocolate before you start to feel, well...hungry. And deprived.

So, what's a girl to do? Well, eat/beg/borrow/steal smart. Everyone knows the age-old trick of eating the food samples at Costco's as a lunch staple, but in order to do that, one actually has to have a Costco card. (Actually, I have an old one, and I doubt they look too hard at them until you actually buy something.) Instead, improvisation rules your meal times. I've been using my good grace and the love of my friends and their food as much as possible. Any food invitation you get, from a homemade
mac and cheese dinner to pizza and cake to a handful of chips, you take. For the more discerning palates, there are other options. When I was a sophomore, I read a great article in the Champlain Current by Ian Frisch about how to use City Market's good intentions against them and make a meal for under $3. It involved buying a banana, the ends of meat and cheese that are sold for a song, and using their free bread, condiments, and water in the buffet to make a sandwich. (They also periodically have fuck-ups price-marking the food that are worth looking for-- I got a $4, not $12, pork roast once, and cheese for 22 cents that should have been $5.22.) I
walked into Great Harvest Breads on Pine Street to inquire about a job, and though it was filled already and I left still unemployed, I found something nearly better-- they give you thick slabs of free bread samples, which you can slather with as much butter as you want right out of a crock. A slice of bread and butter from there is enough for a lunch on the run. Bring your own water, though-- the bread, while fantastic and addicting, especially the Honey Oat Wheat and the Mediterranean Olive Loaf, is dense, doughy, and dries your mouth out like the best herb money can buy. Only you're getting dry-mouth and a full belly for free. Cheese Traders, Lake Champlain Chocolate's shop on Church Street, and farmer's markets are always good places to cruise for free samples of tasty little delights, too.

Speaking of that other thing, beggars cannot be choosers, and should not be above using people to smoke their shit when down and out. Everyone does it at one time or another. Especially to people they just met and will never see again. (Read: dudes intent on hitting on you hard-core at
parties. Plus, it makes them bearable.)

For broke-ass fun and entertainment, it takes a little more settling. I've resigned myself to the fact I won't see Inception until it comes out on DVD, and that barring friends lovely enough to buy my drinks-- that's you, Emily and Nora--the bars downtown are going to have a rest and recovery time from me until the end of August. However, walking down to the waterfront to watch the amazing sunsets over the Adirondacks is just as good as any cinema, and there are always parties to go to in Burlington. If you're sick of all your movies, you can always watch new ones online, or start a lending group with friends. (You can actually also start a cooking circle with friends so that you can eat up to 4 dinners a week for free and only have to cook for everyone else once.) Church Street is always great entertainment, too-- I walk down to listen to music performers and go to Borders to stand in the magazine section and catch up on articles I've missed and harass them about hiring me. And you can always get more cultured and stroll into Frog Hollow or the Bern Gallery or some of the small local art galleries and peruse some fine arts for not even a nickel. Check out Seven Day's calendar for more free goings-on around town, too.

Happy mooching. And any food/dollar/alcohol/nicotine donations out of the kindness of your heart are more than greatly appreciated, too.


No comments:

Post a Comment