I just moved in to an apartment with a BEDROOM. Yes, a real bedroom. With a door. And a bed. And a comforter. And a set of sheets. And yes, this IS a big deal. Because I haven’t had a bedroom, or a bed to put in it for nearly three years.
I’m in my early twenties (coming close to mid, mind you, but I will hold on to that ‘early’ definition as long as I possibly can). I haven’t had a lot of time to build up my personal wealth, especially since I was in university for four and a half years. So little things still appear as huge luxuries to me sometimes, especially in light of the things I lived with/without for the last seven years.
I decided to put a list together of them, for comical value:
- In my last month of first year university, I lived on expired Easter chocolate that was on clearance at the grocery store, and package after package of 99 cent hot dogs. That’s right. Twelve hot dogs for a buck. I couldn’t afford the buns. Just the dogs. Weiners and chocolate. For a month.
- I joined the university newspaper solely to eat free. I didn’t really do a fucking thing during the two years I was there. I’m not sure anyone noticed, but they did keep ordering Hawaiian pizza just for me.
- I went for four years without buying paper towel or kleenex. These were luxury items I simply could not afford to waste my money on. I have no idea how I lived without them, but I did.
- My bathroom fan broke in third year university. I couldn’t pay to have someone come in and fix it. So I tried to fix it. It didn’t work. So then I removed it from the ceiling, packed it up in a box and sent it on the Greyhound bus all the way to my parents place 3,000 kms to the west, so that they could take it somewhere and get someone to fix it. Yeah. Poverty.
- I skipped orientation weekend at university in first year because it was $80. I certainly couldn’t afford that, and my parents weren’t paying for it either. Because of this, I had pretty much no friends for two years. Fucking $80.
- My boyfriend lived in a different city than me for four years. For four years, I drove back and forth on the weekends. I couldn’t actually afford this. So I put my name and number up on the RideShare board and drove totally random people back and forth on weekends in exchange for gas money. I mean, nobody tried to kill me, but looking back, it wasn’t the smartest thing I ever did.
- I participated in those stupid psychology tests that paid you like, $6 for 20 minutes of work. Being a guineau pig was not above me.
- I lived without cable for 3 years. It was hell.
- I froze my fucking ass off for four years, since I couldn’t afford to turn up the heat and I had the draftiest room in all of history. I was constantly walking around in sweaters, slippers and a dress I crafted out of my blanket.
- One night I got really depressed and thought I’d really splurge and go to 7-11. So I did and went wild and bought a flavoured coffee and bag of chips. Then, I was going to drive around in my shitbox car until I felt better. But then I couldn’t, cuz my shitbox car didn’t have any cupholders and it was a stick. I didn’t have enough hands to hold my drink, switch gears and steer (which was harder than you think, cuz shitbox car had no power steering). I had to sit in the parking lot of the 7-11 until I finished my coffee. I burnt my tongue. It sucked.
- If I was at the grocery store and wanted something that cost more than $1, I begged my roommate to split it with me. If she refused or wasn’t there, it didn’t go in the cart.
- I had the ugliest, stupidest, most uncomfortable backpack of all time for three years. Because it was free. My dad won it at some stupid raffle and gave it to me. I couldn’t get another one. I only replaced it after I got a complimentary bright yellow backpack for participating in a conference. It was equally as ugly, but less painful and just as free.
- I went two years without a haircut. Hairdressers are a ripoff. Couldn’t afford it.
- My mattress was such a piece of garbage (because I bought the cheapest one there was…it was like, $99) that I had to buy a piece of mattress sized plywood and stick it underneath, to stop the mattress from almost hitting the floor with sag when I lied on it, and to stop it from groaning like the earth was opening up and about to swallow you. It was fun getting the plywood home, being that I drove a very small car and the plywood only fit if I shoved it all the way to the front windshield. This meant I had to drive looking THRU the steering wheel, not over it, and I had absolutely no way of looking out any mirrors. I have no idea how I didn’t die.
- I would wait in line for like, 20 minutes to save a tenth of a penny on my gas.
- For the last four months of first year, I lived in a room with a family on a very hilly road. The driveway was so steep that when I parked shitbox car there, it honest to God rolled backwards and onto the street. So, I had to park the car on the bottom part of the driveway under the sidewalk, meaning the owners of the house couldn’t get their car out of the driveway in the morning. So, for four months, I got up every day at 6 AM to move my car onto the road (cuz in Ontario, for some reason, you cannot park on the street overnight), just in case they needed to go somewhere in the morning. I did this every day, cuz I couldn’t afford to fix my parking brake. Stupid shitbox car.
- I spent hundreds of dollars in oil, cuz shitbox car had a constant oil leak. I couldn’t afford to fix the leak, but I could afford to buy three dollar bottles every few days. Stupid shitbox car.
- In first year, I left my lights on in the parking lot in the middle of winter. Since I had no friends (see above, not being able to afford orientation weekend), I called my boyfriend in the other city to freak out to him. I was 17 and had no idea what to do. He got his friend to drive him the hour and a half just to try and boost my fucking car, cuz I couldn’t afford a tow truck to take it to the garage. His friend was so nice that he brought me a new battery, but couldn’t install it cuz the bolts on the old one were rusted on. Stupid shitbox car.
- For the past three years, I have lived in apartments with no bedrooms. No doors. Bachelors. It sucked.
- I took a job working at a wastewater treatment plant. Fancy way of saying, ‘when you flushed the toilet, I greeted it at the other end in my hip waders.’
Enough said. Ah, memories of poverty are funny. Stupid shitbox car.