The other day I saw a guy walking down the street in a Black Panther beret. A homeless man raised his fist in a Black Panther salute and shouted, "Hey, Panther!" and the Panther turned and waved and smiled quite cheerily. It was a very nice interaction between strangers. Maybe this is the new, less-militant M.O. of the Black Panthers?
In college, I once gave a presentation on historic events in the civil rights movement, including the attempted assassination of James Meredith. The source I was using just said, "he was shot in the head." This, to me, meant death. Naturally, I did no further research because, like I said, I was in college and checking to make sure my report subjects actually died is too rigorous for me. Yeah, I don't remember that going over well.
These two things are related because of (a) civil rights and (b) my concern that my report on the Black Panther walking down the street would make it seem like I didn't understand the Black Panther movement. I am here to assure you that I have done no research.
Let's Split the Bill
For someone who spends a lot of money, I think I might actually be cheap. I loathe going to big group dinners at restaurants, because I hate when everyone throws into the pot with little regard for what they ordered. What I don't understand and never understand is how people so grossly miscalculate what they owe. And this seems to happen just about every time I go out with a group. At some point, someone will say, "OK, everybody throw in another dollar." No. No, I will do no such thing. Why this bothers me is because I tend to order according to what I feel comfortable spending on that meal. It really irks me when I'm expected to pay more than my share because someone else isn't giving what they should.
Last night I went to dinner with a group (it worked out fine, I'm just using this as an example), and I ordered a $4 appetizer and a $12.75 entree. I drank water. I put in $20. I worked it out thus: $16.75 for food, plus 10% tax (a gross overestimate) would be about $18.50. I throw in another $1.50 to account for a margin of error in my calculation. The tip gets added in later. I always work in pretty much the same way--over-contributing slightly so there's no squeeze. Why don't other people do this? I really don't like splitting bills. Yep, I'm definitely cheap. I'd rather eat alone than have to pay an extra $12 for my meal for wine that I didn't drink.
Yesterday and today I have packed a bag lunch for myself! Woooooo! I'm hoping I can get into the habit of doing this so that I can save money and overeat less frequently. Even if I splurge slightly--good turkey from the deli, rolls instead of sliced bread--I still end up saving myself a good bit of money. And, on nasty, rainy days like today, it's pretty nice to not have to go out and find something to eat. I can instead sit in my office with the door closed and my shoes off and eat my little turkey sandwich.
So, Operation: Keep the Dang Dining Room Table Clean is going quite well. I've even managed to extend some of the neatness to the living room and my bedroom! Maybe I can take some pictures soon! It will be pretty magical if I manage to get everything in my apartment clean at once because I don't think it has ever happened.
I was actually inspired by my brother and sister-in-law's place when I went to visit them. Somehow, they have a very tidy, well-cared-for apartment that feels welcoming and friendly. I think they're just consistent with it, and that's how it works out for them. But, I know my brother--he is a slob. He is also a hoarder. We are cut from the same cloth. So, I figure if he can do it, then I can do it.
I just want to get to the point where people stopping by unexpectedly is a pleasant surprise, and not grounds for panic. I think I'm getting there.