|This is me. Far too often. But don't I look pleased?|
Over the past three weeks, I’ve needed a dryer repair, a central air repair, new tires, and new brakes. All said, it totaled just short of a gazillion dollars. And Mercury isn’t even in retrograde.
It brought to mind a similar cluster a few years back. I had told myself then that I had to tighten my purse strings with a triple knot. I would allow no superfluous spending for three months.
Yet later that same day, I found myself in the middle of this conversation with myself:
Wednesday, 1:45 P.M:
Sensible Sherry: "So, that's that. If this spring's financial fiasco wasn't a wake-up call, this week's emergencies surely were. Broken rider lawnmower (beyond repair), car air conditioning (quoted fix of $600-$1,200), and central air (replacement costing $2,500), You need to make some significant changes in your life."
Stupid Sherry: "Yes, yes, you're right. I will change my lifestyle right now. I will start by playing the lottery every day and by switching to Natty Light beer."
Sensible Sherry (glaring): "What I mean is truly tightening your purse strings. No more eating out, no more vacations, and no more spending a fourth of your grocery bill on adult beverages."
Stupid Sherry: "Wow. You are a tough taskmaster."
Sensible Sherry: "I am. And from now on, you shall be my bitch."
Sensible Sherry: "Um, excuse me? Is that you, clicking around on Orbitz.com?"
Stupid Sherry (glancing around and whistling): "Who, me?"
Sensible Sherry: "Jesus. It's like I don't even know you."
Stupid Sherry: “But listen to this! Remember back in April, when I found that unbelievable deal for taking the Megabus to New York City? A round-trip ticket from Toledo for $4.50? Four dollars and fifty cents! I booked it right then, just in case I could make it work."
Sensible Sherry: "It WON'T work. Cancel it. And walk away from the computer."
Stupid Sherry: "But I just managed to change my bus reservation! Instead of spending three nights in Manhattan, I'll only spend one! Look at the money I've saved myself already!"
Sensible Sherry: "So, you will sit on a bus for 12 hours, stay in New York for a single day and night and then turn around and spend another 12 hours on a bus?"
Stupid Sherry: "Yes! What an adventure it will be!"
Sensible Sherry (sighing): "That's what the Donner Party said."
Sensible Sherry: "No. Tell me you didn't."
Stupid Sherry: "Can you believe my good luck? A hotel room, on Manhattan's lower east side, for only $100!"
Sensible Sherry: "Did you notice the fine print, about the 'shared bathroom'?"
Stupid Sherry (shrugging): "I won't shower for 48 hours. And I'll cross my legs."
Sensible Sherry: "What about bed bugs?"
Stupid Sherry: "Bed bugs? The hotel amenities didn't list those."
Sensible Sherry: "Right. And what will you do in New York, with no money?"
Stupid Sherry: "Oh, there are tons of fun and free things! I'll visit the public library. I’ll walk through Central Park. I will pass by homeless people and learn to truly appreciate my life."
Sensible Sherry: "Mm-hmm. How will you eat?"
Stupid Sherry: "I plan to pack a bag of peanuts and six PB and J sandwiches in my duffle bag. And drink from public water fountains."
Sensible Sherry (closing eyes and shaking head): "You are so full of shit."
Stupid Sherry: "You’re right. Not realistic or practical. No, I’ll survive on $2 hot dogs from street vendors. And I will ask for extra mustard packets and make an entire meal out of them."
Sensible Sherry: "You need professional help. Although you can't afford that either."
Stupid Sherry: "Come on! How could anyone let a practically free trip to New York go unused? That's like telling Ed McMahon to go away when he shows up at your door with a giant check."
Sensible Sherry (checking dead-celeb dot com): "Ed McMahon died in 2009. If he happens to show up at your door, promise me you'll tell him to go away."
Stupid Sherry: "OK. But I am definitely going to New York."
Sensible Sherry (rolling her eyes): "Fine. Go ahead. Spend 24 hours squeezed into a bus seat and another eight hours sleeping in a frightfully cheap hotel."
Stupid Sherry: "Yes. Yes, I will. Sounds delightful. Jeez, you're such a worrier. I mean, with a great plan like this, what could possibly go wrong?"
Sadly, I found myself with a scheduling conflict, and I had to cancel that trip. I’ve made up for it with loads of amazing trips over the past few years. But this week I proclaimed another moratorium on traveling.
As I recalled that cancelled plan yesterday, however, I found myself curious about the going rate for Megabus tickets to NYC. I hopped online and randomly searched travel dates—purely for research purposes, of course. Round-trip fares were mostly in the $60 range. But then I spied it: a trip to NYC for $15 and a return trip for just $1.00. Round-trip from Toledo to New York for $16.
And, I then discovered if one was truly SERIOUS about a frugal roadtrip of this sort—which I wasn’t—one could still find a hotel near Soho with a tiny cabin room and a shared bathroom for $100 per night.
Within fifteen minutes, I had my room and travel booked. Two nights instead of one, because over the past few years I’ve grown far more practical. And I made certain my reservations were refundable, in the event my transmission dies in the next two months. Or in case I come to my senses.
I figured the long bus ride would allow hours of writing. An ultra-efficient use of my time, really. And the hotel/hostel commenters on the internet mentioned how interesting it was to meet other guests, while sitting out on the roof or the fire escape. Chalk up another fascinating life experience.
I planned a single year of strange new adventures, through The 52/52 Project, to be a mere one-off period in my life--before I returned to my regularly scheduled program. Yet, here I am.
I may need an intervention.
Are you a traveler or a homebody? What's the craziest thing you've done lately?