omg, now my food stamps aren’t working at all!

Something is wrong with my food stamps. I was going to try to use the small amount of money on them at the grocery store tonight. However, a week or two ago, I used the food stamps card at McClanahan’s grocery store near Maki Yaki. It worked. They had some difficulty getting it to work – for some reason the cash register canceled it and I had to do it again. I think the cashier didn’t know how to do it.

I checked my balance tonight, and that purchase never appeared, as though it never happened. So I suspected there might be a problem, and I brought in my debit card along with me.

Fortunately, Mom and Dad gave me a small amount of money – they actually linked a bank account in a way that lets them give me a direct deposit. They are just giving me a couple hundred dollars once in a while to help out, and I didn’t even ask them for it. One reason why I’m camping is so that I don’t have to keep asking people to help me pay thousands of dollars in rent every time I get sick and lose a job, but they’re giving me money anyway, in spite of all the thousands I have already taken from them in the past.

People have trouble understanding chemical sensitivity and chronic fatigue. Tiny, tiny amounts of pesticide will get on my clothing, belongings, bedsheets, the floor of the bathtub, and so on. This lingers for months. I will be dead exhausted and unable to get out of bed for months because of this, until I do something which requires a huge effort (while sick), such as changing the sheets. I know changing the sheets seems like no big deal, but when you are deathly ill with chronic fatigue, changing the sheets is a huge pain. I actually had a job, briefly, as a housekeeper at a hotel, and I quit it after one day, because I was in agony from changing dozens of bedsheets at high speed. It is painful, exhausting work.

Other people’s irrational phobia of bugs has ruined my life. People spray pesticides because of harmless houseflies and other harmless bugs that are a mere nuisance. They don’t carry diseases and they don’t bite and they aren’t poisonous, but other people feel that these bugs are THE END OF THE WORLD and they must be completely destroyed USING ANY MEANS NECESSARY NO MATTER WHAT THE COST. So they spray horrifying deadly poisons indoors and outdoors and everywhere to get rid of them, and instantly my life is ruined and my jobs are lost because I can’t get out of bed and go to work.

I don’t want to talk about the idea that bugs are eating the wood in the house, because maybe that’s true and I don’t know, but I personally feel that my quality of life is more important than protecting the wood of the house. Let the house get eaten by bugs, if it must. Build houses out of stone instead of wood. Do some alternative thing to prevent the house from being eaten by bugs, but don’t use pesticide. Use any alternative necessary to avoid using pesticide.

Anyway, so in spite of my recurring and long-lasting failures at life and demands for money, my parents still spontaneously gave me a couple hundred bucks without my asking for it. That is the only reason why I was able to pay for my groceries tonight.

So, here is what happened.

I went insane at the grocery store.

I have gone months now eating utter garbage. I need healthy organic vegetables and greens and variety in general, anything new and unfamiliar and uncommon, not the same exact foods over and over again. Variety is extremely important. Hunter-gatherers have variety, but settled agriculture communities have much less variety. Some of the variety is undesirable: there are millions of foods that are edible and they won’t kill you, but they are very unpalatable and unpleasant for some reason, undesirable, or slightly toxic or medicinal, but not enough to cause instant death, or they have a bad texture that’s hard to chew or they’re hard to open up and pull apart, or whatever. Inconvenient foods.

But even so, we still have tons of varieties of foods that are desirable, delicious, interesting, nutritious, convenient, but just foreign or less familiar. I can’t get those things at Burger King.

So I went crazy. I bought a whole bunch of dried foods, like my favorite organic unsulfured dried apricots, the brown ones. I bought a few dried meats. I bought a couple perishable items that I have to eat soon. Since it’s cold overnight, they will at least survive until tomorrow. I’m going to experiment with keeping kimchi for a couple days at the tent. Kimchi is a fermented cabbage. It might last longer if I bury it in a small hole in the ground. It will continue to ferment, and it will taste too sour and unpleasant when it’s fermenting too much, and that will be a couple days, or longer, depending on how cold it is. I also bought green grapes, which was silly of me, because they will freeze and explode and turn into a pool of mush when the temperature goes too low in my tent. But I wanted them so badly. I am desperate for good food.

I brought this huge heavy basket on my arm, and, oh, by the way, they have the Danisa butter cookies in the beautiful round tin – I kept a dozen of those tins and eventually threw them away. They have a painting of people wearing brightly colored traditional clothing, not this horrible tasteless colorless American clothing, outdoors sledding or dancing and singing in the grass and running with dogs. A wonderful image.

I carried this heavy basket all over the store and it was so heavy that I didn’t even pick up one of those tins of cookies. By that time, I could hardly add anything else to the basket without it falling all over the place. So I skipped the cookies today, but might get them another time. They are seasonal, only at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So… I got to the self checkout. I was going to do all this by myself. I was going to buy some of it with the food stamps, some of it with the EBT cash, and the rest of it with my own debit card. I had $22 in cash on the card. My balance still said $17 remained for food, which was weird, and it didn’t show the transaction at McClanahan’s a week or two ago. So I suspected something might be wrong.

Well, it rejected my attempt to buy slightly less than $17 on the food stamps. Okay, I thought, maybe that transaction just somehow got processed but didn’t show up when I looked at it online. But I had to cancel the whole thing and have a cashier help me – I couldn’t cancel it at the self checkout.

Meanwhile, as I’m doing the ‘Please Wait For Assistance,’ the little recorded voice is saying over and over again, and my red light is blinking, and nobody is coming, and I’m standing there in a funny awkward position, embarrassed, and then, there is this gorgeous guy who looks like a combination of some kind of Asian, and somehow also like Agustin from Guatemala. He looked exactly like Agustin, but was Asian. He had pale skin, not brown skin like Agustin, but something about his eyes and his cheekbones was exactly the same as Agustin, except with more of an eyelid fold than Agustin. I was staring at this guy as he went into the self checkout, and he finished and was leaving, and he turned and looked at me and I looked in his eyes and was just staring right at him, and he actually turned around and came back to the self checkout as though he had forgotten something, and I stood there still waiting, very embarrassed, as the recording said ‘Please Wait For Assistance. Please Wait For Assistance.’ The gorgeous guy turned around and left again. Sigh…. ‘Excuse me, but you look exactly like a guy that I fucked a couple months ago. Could you possibly…???’

Finally, someone came over to help me. So I went to the regular checkout lane and tried to use the cash instead of the food stamps. Ehhhh – nope, it wouldn’t let me use that either. What the fuck? Okay, so she had me try to use the food stamps again. Nope, it didn’t do that. It just said ‘not approved.’ It didn’t even say there was insufficient funds. Just not approved. By now I was flustered, frustrated, embarrassed, and irritated, and I was one of those customers who is taking an extremely long time and holding up the line. She opened that register just for me, but another customer lined up behind me, even though that register was only open
temporarily and only for me. So she would probably have to take a whole line of people there because of me. I was THAT CUSTOMER who stands there for fifteen minutes having some kind of technical difficulty whenever they try to pay for something.

Finally, I paid for it all with my debit card. It was over $100. It was like $117 or something, from a basket small enough to carry on my arm. Just a full basket, not a grocery cart. Organic dried fruits are often like $8 a bag, so everything in that basket cost a huge amount of money per item.

Some people complain when they see food stamps users buying lobster. They complain if someone buys organic. Well, I am of the opposite opinion. Those are healthy foods. Food stamps should ONLY be allowed to buy nutrient dense foods like lobster and organic fruits, and should NOT be used for buying bread or canned foods. That would be an awesome version of the food stamps. Organic food stamps.

I also need Hot Food Stamps, which are like gift cards at local restaurants. That would help homeless people who don’t have refrigerators.

Oh! The pumpkin! Somebody put a tiny, cute little pumpkin next to the entrance of my path to the tent. I think it must be that lady! I love pumpkins but would never buy one just for myself. I don’t usually decorate anything for fun, but yet, pumpkins are the perfect decoration. It’s a natural object, and it’s my favorite color, orange. If I have to have decorations, then natural objects are the way to go. I LOVE semiprecious stones, too, such as agates. Natural flowers, natural pumpkins, natural wood and stones – if I was very wealthy and could afford to buy stuff I’d get that kind of thing. This little tiny pumpkin was a nice little gesture. I don’t know whether I should leave it there or take it up to the tent. For now, I perched it on a log, but I’m afraid someone else will take it or do something with it. I might take it to the tent.

Anyway. So I bought it all with the money my parents just happened to give me spontaneously today, by coincidence. I don’t know if they are going to give me money once a month as a routine, or if somebody mind-controlled them and gave them the sudden urge to do it now. I don’t know.

Just a few small bags of groceries, just one hand-hand basket in the store, was like $117 or something like that. Organic foods and special foods.

I know I can get canned soup. But even that is getting more expensive. I could get dry rice and dry beans. But they need a lot of cooking.

I want to get the $30 propane grill that I saw at McClanahan’s. I can’t light a fire where I am, because the smoke will draw attention to my location, and fires aren’t allowed, but a propane stove won’t smoke like that, hopefully. With my luck maybe it would. I don’t know.

Anyway… okay, I’m sitting here at the laundromat eating my food. I will keep it cold overnight, but the temperatures are unpredictable and it can cause problems if they go below freezing, for certain items. I only got a few things that were perishable. Most of it was dried stuff. I have my salad bar salad which I’m eating now, a small container of lobster bisque from the Panera brand, a Brown Cow whole milk yogurt, and a bag of grapes. The kimchi is semi-perishable. I seriously will try burying it in a hole in the ground so it stays cool in the daytime. You can tell it’s going bad when it gets so sour you can’t stand to eat it anymore. I just won’t be able to keep it around forever. This is an experiment – I will see how long kimchi lasts without a refrigerator, in the cool autumn temperatures, if I keep it in a hole in the ground so it’s less affected by the warmth of the daytime. Nights are cold enough to be perfect, like I’m sleeping in a refrigerator, almost exactly at 40 degrees. Right now, at least.

I do have to go talk to the food stamps people anyway.

I wonder, do they not believe that I am really camping? Do they think I’m lying about where I live? I’M NOT LYING. I am camping in a fucking tent with a huge pile of blankets and sleeping bags and insulation.

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