Saturday, 21 March 2015

Living On Borrowed Time And Borrowed Money

Being on the road, on a budget, means eating at a series of low cost joints, places where the cutlery is thin, the plates are plastic, the tables are barren, the principal food ingredients are salt and fat. It means going to places where the main course is around $12 to $15, day after day after day. I've become familiar with Golden Corral, Shoney's, WhataBurger and every other kind of fast food joint you can imagine. I've come to know for certain that, when it comes to portion size, Tex-Mex from any one of a number of chains is probably the best bet.

It also means staying night after night in Motel6, Super8, Days Inn or any other place where the nightly rate is $75 or less, preferably down to $49.99. It means motels where the doors don't quite close properly, where the carpets show their age, where the room smells vaguely of antiseptic which makes you wonder what happened in there last night. It means dealing with taps that leak, low budget bed sheets, tiny room which make me thankful that I am only sleeping there for the night.

San Antonio has been completely different. I've blown the budget completely here, staying in the Homewood Suites on the Riverwalk, going out for dinner at a nice restaurant, one where they have tablecloths, where the waiters know and care about the food they serve, where the wine list has more than five items on it. I've spent more in the last two days than I did in the last week, tripling up on my hotel budget, doubling up on my food budget, going to a special Martini bar, having a beer beside the river.

It's been worth it, every penny. I realize that this last couple of days is coming back on me. It will force an even tighter budget later in the trip. I'll have to eat a few times at McDonald's or Wendy's, maybe even Jack In The Box, to make up the food budget. It will mean at least a week at $49.99 motes, the ones with cigarette burns in the bedspreads and cleaning staff who only visit the room rather than cleaning it.

I can live with some tough stuff; I do it every day. I can live with inconvenience; I do it every day. I can live with discomfort; I do it every day. But every once in a while, I have to treat myself, be nice to myself, take myself to a place where having ALS and being in a wheelchair are, for a moment or two, completely forgettable. And that means going over budget now and again, running up the Visa card, and trying to forget that I am living on borrowed time and borrowed money.

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