This may not make any sense to anyone else. After all, isn’t corned beef hash already deconstructed? And yet, you’re going to have to go with me on this, because it was my dream, and my breakfast that I ordered, only, in the dream, to realize that I wasn’t allowed to eat that breakfast, because it wasn’t part of my $21 allotment, and so I had to send it back.
The whole plate. Sent back.
It was, to be fair, almost a nightmare.
But by the time I woke up Monday, I was feeling surprisingly good about things. I didn’t have the caffeine headache from Sunday, and, armed with split pea soup and a peanut butter sandwich, was pretty sure I could face the day with gusto.
Of course, I had to start the day at a breakfast meeting with my boss. At a coffeeshop.
“I’m not even going to offer to get you anything,” she said when she saw me forlornly sitting there with my laptop and my aluminum water bottle.
“No,” I said. “Please don’t. I’m fine.”
What I didn’t tell her was that I’d gone online to the coffeeshop’s website the night before, ostensibly to be sure they had wireless, but more to see if I could sign up for an email list or something that would give me a free cup of coffee in return for my marketing data. But no. The thank you gift? Free barista beverage WITH PURCHASE OF ANOTHER. Clearly outside the bounds of the experiment, so it was a non-starter.
I had started the day with the aforementioned hearty bowl of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, and had packed a container of the black bean soup and a peanut butter sandwich. I planned to split the sandwich up throughout the day—half in the late morning, half in the late afternoon—so I’d have no problem making it without needing any more of a snack.
And then there was the water. Lots and lots and lots of water. I have given up caffeine before, but never, simultaneously, all beverages that weren’t plain water. I mean, even without caffeine, there are worlds of options: Decaf coffee. Herbal tea. Diet Caffeine Free Coke. Diet Sprite. Seltzer water. But not for me, and not this week—all those options were out of my price range.
It was, for any number of reasons, a really busy day at work, and that kept me distracted, at least until I got home and realized how absolutely exhausted I was. I was lying on the couch playing a game of Texas Hold ‘Em on my iPhone when Gary, a friend from Iowa, called to say hello.
“I’m only spending $21 on food and beverages this week,” I said.
“Girl, boo,” he said. “What are you spending all your money on out there?”
“It’s a challenge,” I said. “I am doing this to raise awareness.”
“Do you need me to order you a pizza?” he asked.
It was tempting, but I declined, and then carried on the conversation. Until I finally announced that I need to go heat up my leftover split pea soup. We hung up, and I microwaved the soup and ate it in approximately 12 seconds. I might as well have just put it in a cup and tossed it back like a giant green shot for all the ceremony I gave it.
And then, even though I was facing down a monster pile of work, I made a bargain with myself. Due to the lack of caffeine, I was welcome to go to bed at 8:30 p.m., which was what my body was screaming at me to do. In exchange, I had to get up at 5 a.m. to finish all the work that I hadn’t gotten to because I’d gone to bed barely after the sun had set.
I didn’t give myself much time to debate the finer points of this arrangement. I remember lying down, and then I don’t remember much else within about 30 seconds after that.