Two facts: 1) Without a paycheck, a certain amount of belt tightening is inevitable. 2) I am getting to the age bracket that advertisers tend to ignore. That used to seem very strange to me, but I have reconsidered. After a certain age you realize you probably have too much stuff and you don't need anymore, hell, you really need to get rid of some of the stuff you already have. So the inclination to run out and buy more stuff diminishes exponentially. You don't go to work and you hardly ever go to super-fancy parties and benefits so the few really snazzy outfits you already own can go on and on. Maybe forever. Except for books and CD's and groceries and gas, you really aren't buying a whole lot of stuff anymore. And without a paycheck, you buy even less.
But money is always welcome, because the dental bills, emergencies, home repairs and all that stuff doesn't disappear just because you don't buy stuff you don't need and you don't have a paycheck. So along with little ways to scrimp, like turning lights out when you leave a room, and buying the specials at the grocery store, and selling some of your old junk you look around for even more legal ways to add a little extra cash to the exchequer. I ride the MBTA and I also read Craig's list and there are always researchers looking for guinea pigs. Step right up.
It went wrong from the beginning. S.O. and I would hotfoot it over to an institution of higher learning and pick up a tidy enough sum to enjoy a good dinner. Except he didn't qualify, so we settled for a cheap dinner. I, Grapeshot, presented myself at the test site and the people were very nice and I had to define some words and remember some numbers and everything was very pleasant. Then the tester announced that I would have to give a five minute speech on a list of topics which required some knowledge of current events, shall we say. Apparently a lot of the guinea pigs headed for the hills at this point, public speaking not being considered a walk in the park. However, currently Grapeshot is not one of the fearful, and she gave her little speech and it was nothing Demosthenes would have been proud of but it was o.k. and she was sincere and even knew a few facts. Then they required all sorts of mathematics nimbleness and that was somewhat stressful, and then it turned out the whole purpose of the experiment was so stress the volunteers enough to measure their stress hormones. I won't say anymore because I don't want to identify the test, but after 2.5 hours I felt like I had earned my $25.00 and then some.
S.O. and I travelled to the Border Cafe in Harvard Square where a cheap, filling and tasty meal can be had for just slightly over $25.00 if you factor in the Margaritas. Ole!
The moral of this story is that you never know what each new day will bring but it may be something just a little bit bizarre. The fish tacos (with corn tortillas, of course), were delicious. I wish someone would devise a test to figure out what this weird gringo fixation with flour tortillas is. Tasteless as wraps, the new scrouge of the fast food industry. But that's another topic.