[Disclaimer: Exaggerated for comedic effect.]
Well, today I get paid, which means for one day, I get to be rich.
I wake up at 8:00, because even though I don’t have class today, I have more homework than time. Upon remembering I get paid today, I leap out of bed and turn on my laptop eagerly– I’m finally able to afford rent! Even though it was due three days ago, the late fee isn’t applied until tomorrow, so this is a great day to get paid. I pay my rent online, and after my transaction, I’m left with about $25 to make it through the next two weeks–but today is my day, pay day, so I’m going to go on a shopping spree. This $25 is the most I’ve had in my bank account since last paycheck!
With my new fortune, I decide I can afford to eat again. The past week I’ve been surviving on applesauce and jelly beans, with the occasional $7 meal ticket work provides for me, so I’m feeling rather lightheaded. Nonetheless, I bundle up for the crisp, windy, sharp, painful, freezing, cutting, evil, snowing, bitter, killer weather and make out for the grocery store. On the way, I see the commoners eyeing my rich ass with envy– not everyone can be adorned in the beautiful hand-me-down robe I’m donning. It’s about a mile walk, so by the time I get there, I’m seeing lights dance before my eyes, but the journey is halfway over.
At Walmart, I shop around for a feast. I spend a lot of time in the canned foods aisle, loading up on canned corn and canned green beans. With four cans in my shopping basket, I meander over to the milk, and then stop by bread before feeling satisfied with my halfway-brimming basket of goods. I don’t have anything to use with the bread, but if you’re hungry enough, it tastes just fine by itself. In theory I could toast it, but that would require electricity.
At the checkout line, I present my boyfriend’s Walmart Employee discount card which knocks off a whopping $0.27. I pay the $9.74 (“Um, I’m gonna do $3.45 in change and the rest on my card,” I say, pulling out a plastic baggy of pennies and nickels) and make sure to put the receipt in a safe place before journeying through the whipping, relentless, biting, unpleasant, penetrating, cruel, cold, malicious, soul-obliterating weather back to my apartment. Halfway home, I see a penny laying in the middle of the road and I dodge traffic to acquire it, only managing to cause a few cars to honk at me (they’re just jealous that I found the penny and they didn’t). Then, at long last, I arrive at my complex; after climbing three flights of stairs with bags of groceries ripping at my arm sockets, I step into my apartment and faint from weakness in the doorway.
When I wake up an hour later, I am ready to feast. I pour a can of corn into a bowl and microwave it until it is slightly lukewarm. (Less time in the microwave=less electricity cost amounted.) Then, I dig in. Five minutes later, the writhing pain of hunger has actually disappeared! I might have even stalled my hunger for a few hours! This is a triumphant moment in my week– I feel like a queen.
My next plan of action is logging on to the Walmart Savings Catcher website where I enter my receipt information in hopes that I will get $0.90 back if I am lucky. I will eagerly check back to the website until the results are posted in 2-3 business days.
Next on the agenda is to do homework for the next 6 hours until I go to work. Since I am in college, 6 hours of work amounts to about 2 small homework assignments being completed on a list of 7 items that need accomplished. No matter how focused I am, there will always be homework assignments in my planner that roll over to the next day.
Today I am rich though, so I decide I can afford a shower. A shower costs more than just water– it costs shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and laundry (for the dirty towel). I shower sparingly. Washing my hair once a week is a great way to cut back on the costs of shampoo and conditioner, but for the sake of not being fired due to foul odor, I will admittedly splurge multiple times a week on a body wash, as I am a humble servant who works for minimum wage and thus I bust my ass twenty-fold at work; the consequent odor is therefore a price I build into my budget. (Subtract $0.89 for showers from my paycheck to get net value of paycheck.) Like I said, today I’m rich, so I shower!
Naturally, post-shower involves a lot of air-drying because I never use the costly electricity to blow dry my hair. Usually, I would also air-dry my body so as not to create dirty towels, but I am rich today, so I pat down my body with a clean towel.
My hunger has now returned– ah, that was a marvelous 5 hours of not noticing I have a stomach. I get ready for work, wiggling my eyebrows at my handsome self in the mirror and taking selfies of me with all my quarters; on an average day, I would not even have my phone on, because having my phone on means using battery and using battery means eventually charging my phone which means using electricity, but today– today, I can afford to have my cell phone turned on.
At work, I eat a Twizzler before my shift starts; my job hands out an abundance of Twizzlers to customers, so they are readily available for employees also and thus Twizzlers have become one of the few guaranteed staples of my diet. This one is stale, and quite firm and bland, but I eat it gratefully.
Work involves a lot of sweating. We are busy and the customers are blaming me for their long wait, which is obviously the only reasonable reaction to a busy restaurant. Despite how frantically I am running around the restaurant dropping off food, and despite how I have not once entered the kitchen myself, the customer who waited in line for 40 minutes would like to know why their well-done steak has not been ready after 20 minutes since they ordered and it makes no sense because everyone else at their table who ordered only a side of french fries has already received and finished their food. But I will get right on that, I’m so sorry [for your own horrible horrible decision to dine here tonight].
Of course there is more customer drama because apparently college students love taking out their stress on other stressed out college students who are on the clock but I am rich today! So I will let the lowly jerks complain about their orders, and when I go on break, I order the food that totals to $7.05 instead of $6.99 because today I can afford the 5 cents not covered by my meal ticket! It is a glorious day in the realm of eating. I wish I was rich every day so I could eat this much.
My break food is two nutritious sides of loaded french fries and some pita bread. It will be the only thing I eat for the next day, so I cherish every moment of the soggy french fries and bland dough.
At the end of my shift, it’s midnight when I finally get out, so as the clock strikes 12, I transform back into the peasant I am every other day of the week. I trudge home in the frigid darkness, speed-walking through the blustering wind, the rags I’m dressed in whipping as I make my way back to my cardboard box and starvation. In my dreams, I aspire to live life like this brief period of richness every day.