Dreams of Botox and The Reality of Food Stamps

Half an hour ago, I was in a twilight zone of Bloomspot and Groupon deals selecting a Botox package to firm up my face and make 24 years of lines created by the consternation over this life I live in disappear. As is classic to dream form, right as I was about to check-out with my $500 for 10 injections or whatever Groupon, the alarm went off and I remembered that today is a special day: I’m going to complete my application for Food Stamps!

So, yeah, one who is in a difficult situation for buying food apparently has escapist dreams about light plastic surgery procedures? (Not to be obsessed with dreams or anything, but I feel like when I remember them when I wake up, they dictate the trajectory of my decision making for the rest of the day. If they don’t do that, they at least stay in my mind and if something unusual or unexpected happens throughout my day, I contribute the strange blip in my reality as a manifestation of my dream’s unreality to show that dreams are worth something as far as being a mechanism for hope that there can be some magic and ‘maybe dreams do come true IRL’ kinda thing).

I know it seems like what I’m beginning to say is “And if I walk out of that Food Stamp Office with my EBT card, maybe someone will approach me and offer me salon services at the all time low price of FREE and I’ll just have to say ‘YES!'”, but that’s not it.

I have never been in a position in my life where I’ve been A. Unemployed  and B. Desperate enough to conserve my dough for rent so that I apply for Food Stamps. Last week I filled out an application that would cover me for applying for several different programs (some that folks like Paul Ryan want to change to being a voucher program), but Food Stamps was my most imminent concern to hear back about. I’d counted out all my beans — literally and figuratively — and I determined how much I could spend in the essential departments to last for three months if I didn’t get another job. My student loans were deferred, the New York times subscription was cancelled (boo-hoo!), I cancelled my automatic monthly payment for my cell phone to my dad (we’ll see how long it takes him to notice), and I was left with slightly more than enough money to cover rent and maybe $200 worth of Metro Cards to take me to interviews. I have to say, I am really happy that I got approved for some funding to feed me.

Living in Brooklyn, it’s exciting that practically every Bodega accepts EBT — and I’ve heard that you can use it for other abbreviated items such as PBR when you go in to pick up a box of Bugles — but it’s even more exciting that EBT can be used at participating Farmer’s Markets in the city. Anyone remember that blog Stuff White People Like? Anyway, as an incentive to get folks spending government money to support our dear local farmers, for every $5 that an EBT customer spends, they receive a Health Bucks coupon for $2 worth of fresh fruits and veggies from participating Famers at the market.

The silver lining to me feeling kind of crappy about being down and out on my luck and needing to take advantage of social programs (which I am so grateful exist right now and which I will continue to support for people who are in need) is that for as long as I need to use Food Stamps, I can use them in a way that actually promotes small, family-owned farms and helps those owners themselves to eat and pay their bills. Win-win!

And so, I leave you with another great thing to feel good about: It’s KALE SEASON. Kale is every Brooklynite’s favorite veggie.

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