Saturday, August 10, 2013

Give us this day our daily Subway

Yesterday around noontime, I realized I did something really dumb. I reached into my bag, felt around for the customary brown craft paper and realized: I forgot my lunch. On the dining room table. No doubt my cats had already found it, gnawed through the ziploc baggie, tore my tuna sandwich apart, and batted bits of unwanted rye bread around my living room.

When I initially designed my project a year ago, one thing I had looked forward to was sampling local flavors while on the road. But as August 1st drew near and the implications of my sabbatical salary cut became clearer, I decided that eating out would be a rare and special occasion for the next 9 months. So, each morning, I carefully pack a hearty lunch and several snacks.

I admire people who can go without food in an emergency, but I absolutely cannot. Part of it is that I work out pretty intensely at the gym. I routinely burn more than 1000 calories on the elliptical, bike, and/or treadmill each day. And it takes substantial energy to haul my 230-pound carcass around. Later in the day, I knew I would have an hour-long drive home and being lightheaded wouldn't be an asset.

So simply skipping lunch wasn't an option.

I didn't know of any good eats in Pottsville, so I decided to try a place I passed everyday on route 209. As I walked in, I saw signage for Keno and a smoking area in the "tavern" which reassured me it catered to down-luckers like me. Unfortunately, though, I don't read menus like a normal human being. I may not always eat healthily -- in fact, I slip up every damned day -- but for the past 7 years, I have been trying very hard to lose weight by choosing balanced meals. So where you might see "hamburger, cheeseburger, and BLT," I see "saturated fat, saturated fat with cheese, and hickory-smoked saturated fat with lettuce and tomato." I thought I could even smell the grease hanging in the air and spy it spattered on the walls. I turned tail before an empty stomach and dripping taste buds got the better of me.

I drove up and down Centre Street and thankfully passed a Subway. Gosh, that franchise has saved me so many times! I must have cut an odd figure, counting out quarters, dimes, and nickels (my parking meter fund) from a purple change purse made from a child's sock. Thankfully, my turkey, ham, (baked) potato chips, and diet coke cost $4.24, and I had exactly $4.27. Feeling magnanimous, I tossed three pennies into the tip jar. Nine days into my sabbatical leave, and I was broke.

Such is the life of a scholar who gives all for her studies!


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