Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In Which Nick Gets Confronted, and Photographs are Demanded

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
- Douglas Adams, "Life, the Universe, and Everything"

And I bet you guys thought I was going to open every blog post with lyrics.

Today was a day plagued by mistakes that I'd made twelve hours beforehand. When I made the decision to leave my bicycle at work yesterday, I left my messenger bag there with it. That meant that when I went to put on my sunglasses this morning, they were gone - sitting in my messenger bag, six miles away, complete inaccessible. The same goes for my bandanna, which I normally tie over my poor, unprotected bald head to try and stave off sunburns and/or skin cancer. The theme of this week has been paying for past mistakes - I've been eating repetitively because I bought food impulsively, I burnt the top of my head because I forgot to grab my messenger bag, I walked without music because I forgot to charge my iPod, and so on.

Upon my arrival at work, I ran into the previous owner of my shop. Caught in the act of transporting myself to work, he asked me if I'd given up driving. I'm not doing this for attention, and there's no real way to talk to people about this without coming off as an attention whore, so the only people I've talked to about this experiment "in real life" are friends of mine, people who I think would understand my motivation without me having to explain it. I told him that I was walking and biking to work this month to try and lose some weight (in my case, an admirable goal, but not really the point of this experiment). He let it go at that.

"But if you're not doing it for the attention", the unwashed masses cry from their computer desks, "then why are you maintaining a blog?" The answer is this: I'm documenting the experience. Six months from now, six years from now, when I've forgotten what it's like to come home and have only a small bowl of rice and beans to feed my churning stomach until I awake the next morning and slice a single potato into bits, I'll be able to look back on this and remember what it was like. Hopefully, as I go through the experiment, others will learn from what I am experiencing. Perhaps it will teach all of us to look at food stamp recipients in a new light. Perhaps it will lead to a new era of understanding and brotherhood in humanity.

Probably not.

This is my bowl.  There are others like it, but this is mine.

This is my bowl of red beans and rice. It is all I am eating for supper tonight. As you can see, it contains a generous portion of carbohydrates, a full protein to ensure the continued existence of my meager muscle mass, and a generous splash of Crystal Hot Sauce. As you can also see, the exterior of my Crock Pot is filthy and I need to get around to cleaning it.

That's all I'm eating tonight. That's it. It's been pointed out to me that if you can see what I'm eating, if you can see how my budget reduces my ability to sit down and enjoy a meal over an old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you might better understand the experiment.

I want you to understand what I am doing. I want you to be aware that while this is just a social experiment of sorts for me, it is life for 10% of Americans. Be aware.

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