January 07, 2009

How to Eat on the Upper East Side for $8 a Day

He's a movin' on up!...to the East Side...to a deluxe apartment in the sky...
I speak of the colorful Ham of Bone, who last night related his latest (mis)adventure. Call it "Hambone Takes Manhattan".

He's going to be there for all January working unbearably long hours as a computer consultant (it's the 'curse of the good' - those too good at their jobs not to be used & abused) but I was particularly pleased to learn that his penury ways perdure: you can take the boy out of Frugalville, but you can't take the frugal out of the boy. In a time of tremulous financial instability Bone's financial stability remains rock solid.

First the backdrop: He makes shovel-fulls of money and saves roughly half his income. So he doesn't need to save his per diem money except towards the funding of his early retirement at age 43, give or take. But old habits die hard and of the $64-a-day allowance for food his employer offers, he's living on eight of it. So where does he eat day-in and day-out? A local Seinfeldian deli called "Toasties" (photo above). He gets a gigantic sub that has spinach and lettuce and bacon and ham and peppers (green & red) and whatever else, and this serves as not just one meal but two. Lunch and dinner.

The next day? Rinse & repeat. Same deal.

The following day? Rinse & repeat. Same food.

"What about fruits and vegetables?" I inquire, thinking he put just a very small amount of lettuce & spinach on the sandwich.

"Coffee is supplied by the office...It's ground plant matter," he says, after which I warn him about the dangers of scurvy.

<-'Bone Apartment

Then he relayed one of these "Midwestern innocents abroad" stories I so cherish. One day the subways were full to the point of overflowing, of course, and Bone engaged in a little gender profiling resulting in a near catastrophe. He was going for the last spot on the train when a woman, thin but deceptively strong, managed to get in front of him and hip-check him out of the way in order to get the last spot. He was left with his arm trapped in the subway car as the doors closed, holding his laptop. He could either drop his laptop (and thus lose it) and get his arm out or...or keep trying to exit the car despite the impossibility of that. Fortunately he attracted the attention of a subway employee who radioed the driver to stop the presses because someone was about to lose his life or arm or both. The subway doors were opened and Bone was set free, with his angel mumbling something about having had to have saved his life. All in a day's work in the big city...


wl said...

saves roughly half his income

I take it he's not married.

But no wonder. What he ran into on the subway was the modern woman.

RB said...

"We gotta get out of this place, if it's the last thing we eeee-ver do-oo-oo!"

TS said...

Nope, he's married with four kids!