Do know that I don’t practice absolute PB&J lunch asceticism. Whenever my checking account contains more than a few hundred dollars, my brain decides that I have “lots of money” and I spend freely, going so far as to treat myself to the occasional falafel. But overall, I’ve hewed closer to the PB&J rule than I ever would have expected me to; even the laxest guidelines I set for myself tend to dry up and blow away after a couple months. The mild financial pressures of (a) going to Mexico City soon and (b) moving to L.A. even sooner can probably take the credit for this. So I’m accomplishing the disciplinary mission, even if the actual goal — having some money to show for it — still floats vaguely on the horizon.
Sometimes, while I eat my PB&J — which I do now, as I type this — I remind myself to view my life in its probable entirety. No doubt I’ll eventually call these as “the lean years.” In fact, another luminary I’ve interviewed recently, one who provides me with a model of job-avoidance-as-life, assured me himself that I’ll look back on these days and laugh. Hence my tactic of pre-emptively laughing, aggressive self-deprecation being the apparent final solution (or as final a solution as I can find) to most of my problems. I mean, at least I eat peanut butter and jelly; I remember reading one blogger remember, with what I assume to have been a rueful chuckle, his grad-school stipend that provided just enough of a financial drip feed to keep him in not peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, but peanut butter sandwiches.
But anyway, my MacArthur Fellowship, whenever it comes in, should put an end to all this nonsense. From then on, I’ll eat all kinds of good stuff for lunch: stuff from the Kogi truck, stuff from the grilled cheese truck, stuff from the Ludo truck, stuff from the banh mi truck, stuff from the Bollywood Bites truck, stuff from the Komodo truck, stuff from the Shrimp Pimp truck. Even food not from trucks, I’ll bet. But the committee takes its sweet time, so until they get me my award, you’ll know where to find me: spreading things on bread.