Sunday, 23 August 2009

I calculate therefore I am

I am no longer unemployed, my new job starts at the end of next week. I am no longer living off the state, my benefits were mysteriously cut six weeks ago.

I am in limbo.

My attractive young ladyfriend is far away. I am left to my own devices, so I calculate.

I don't know when I'll next have money coming in, weeks at least. So my existance until then is on expending as little money as possible, but still staying sane.

Sure, I could stay home, spend all day watching tv, surfing the net, blogging. Eating just the 5kg bag of rice, wisely acquired last year, the dried pasta left over by generations of departed flatmates, my potatos still have another crop in them and the onion could be ready soon.

If I minimise the energy I use, could I live on 500 calories a day?

I am at a gig, it was free to get in. MJ Hibbett's Dinosaur Planet, returning to London after a victorious run at the Edinburgh Fringe. To save on transport costs, I walked here. Five miles I guess. Five hundred calories, more than I consumed for breakfast.

So to the supermarket I must go, carefully comparing the price and calories of sandwiches.
  • 362 calories for £1 with egg and cress
  • 384 calories for £1 with cream cheese and ham
  • 562 calories for £2 with the brunch triple pack
Cream cheese and ham wins, I shuffle to the self-service tills to pay by credit card, saving the £3.50 in coins in my pocket for buying drinks at the gig.

How come a half pint of cola with no alcohol duty costs the same as a pint of beer? And half of it is ice too. Its a culturally accepted rip off.

Sure, it makes sense so that a non-alcohol round costs the same as an alcohol one and these places are owned by breweries so making soft drinks more competitive would just put more places out of business.

I spent just over £100 on a pre-owned XBox 360, this you already know. Two months ago the same would have cost £120. God knows how GAME justify it, Cliff the store manager juggled the special offers to make it so, selling me the £129 golf package and buying back the free game.

Anyhoo, it went on the credit card, money I don't have. Spending it quick before it runs out. It makes no sense. Am I subconsciously banking on hyper-inflation to render my debts worthless? Probably.

I'm still trying to resolve it. To place a value on my leisure time.
  • Cinema for 2 hours cost £8 = £4/hr
  • £Gig for 3 hours cost £6 = £2/hr
  • Dinner for 2 hours cost £24 = £12/hr
  • XBox for 100+ hours cost £100 = £<1/hr
  • Playing ukulele for 40+ hours cost £20 = £<0.50/hr
  • Jogging for 1 hour cost £1 = £1/hr (one cream cheese and ham sandwich)
It doesn't create money, but it justifies it.

So once I start work and the money begins to roll in, the minimum wage not quite covering costs, having the XBox will slow the flow rate.

There are other possibilities. If I somehow can make extra money from the leisure activites, become a professional gig/cinema reviewer, do such things exist? Get paid to play ukulele?

No, I'm damned, all I can hope for is hyper-inflation.

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