Monday, May 02, 2005


It seems to me that there are many levels of being broke. There is the "sort of kind of" broke, where most everyone I know seems to be right about now, where you can sort of afford to go out to eat every now and then, and can kind of buy things but not without a small smidgen of guilt that you could probably do without that new whatever and save the money.

Then there is the sad but funny broke. Eb and I were laughing about this the other weekend, in one of those silly right-before-you-fall asleep conversations. This is where I was two summers ago, wrapping up graduate school in Europe. I worked as a receptionist in a hotel for 5 pounds an hour, and my friend Sarah came to visit and I pretty much spent everything I had earned traveling around with her. The day she left, I quite literally had maybe 200 pounds (at five pounds an hour, think about the math that it took me to earn even that!) to my name and roughly 165 of it went to pay for the last of my summer housing. So I had to subsist for the next week or so (and get to London and eat there too) on 35 pounds, the equivalent of which is like $55. These are the times when you eat a lot of canned tuna fish, even if you don't like tuna very much. Fortunately I do like tuna, 'cause I ate whole lot. Tuna and spaghetti and ramen noodles. And I think I ate about 5 meals at McDonalds while in London for four days, because it may be gross but you can be full for 3 pounds there. My big indulgence was going to see the Lion King on my last day, and I paid 10 pounds to stand in the very, very back of the back balcony for two hours. Ebony had a similar summer in New York the following year, which included sleeping on an air mattress and not having air conditioning. She ate a lot of canned tuna too.

And then there's the stupid broke, like when she and Ginger came to my house in late September and we didn't have hot water or heat (there was a cold spell) or the ability to cook anything, because I didn't realize that you have to change over the gas account and they cut ours off.

I know that I've left off the for real broke, as in your electricity has been cut off or something similar. I just haven't personally had to experience that yet...I'm hopeful that I never will.

1 comment:

Ebony said...

I think I have experienced every kind of broke, literally. When does this master's degree become my ticket to immense wealth and real mattresses? (I'm not holding my breath!)