Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Credits and debits: NYC edition

Living here is not always cheap. But there are small victories when things come free or cheap or at least cheaper than I had feared. We probably all pay through the nose in one way or another eventually, but it’s these minor ups and downs that seem to weigh on me or lift me up as the case may be.

Our team won first place at Trivia tonight, so we got the $25 off our collective bar tab. Having consumed two bottles of Rheingold – not my favorite beer, but seemingly always on special Tuesdays at the Baggot Inn – I saved a few bucks – in part thanks to my knowledge that the St. Louis Cardinals are currently the best team in baseball (.632!) and that this man is Warren Buffett (and this is his out-of-this-world holding company’s lame-o website and he wants to save you a bunch of money on your car insurance).

Then I found a castoff copy of the New York Times arts section, and it being Tuesday, I looked forward to doing a relatively easy crossword puzzle on the subway ride home. But in the meantime, Daryl, Jess, Phil, Sharon and I had some ice cream at Mary’s Dairy, or “Mary’s Diary,” according to the Zagat’s plaque. Some dollars were spent; some i-scream-goodness was had. We headed to the subway and I started hopping my way uptown along the A-C-E, after having missed one A train by seconds.

I took an E, then a C, then an A. At least I thought it was an A. But I was so engrossed in my crossword puzzle and bothered that it wasn’t letting itself be solved so easily that it didn’t register to me when I first looked up and saw the train stopping at 155th St. (There is such a station on both the A-C and the B-D lines.) Only when we reached 170th St. did I snap out of it, and realize: Doh, I’m lost in the Bronx.

This was the first time I ever got on the wrong train, the train that wasn’t going to take me home in the more-than-a-few months I’ve lived here. And it was late, and it was a part of the Bronx I didn’t know very well. I played with the idea of getting back on a D train going back to Manhattan, but as the wait dragged on, I just booked it out of the station, found an ATM, and eventually hailed a shady cab to take me home. Soon, I was out an unnecessary $15, but home safe and sound.

Finally tonight, I opened up my ConEd bill and – phew! – discovered that my August bill had not exceeded my July one, but was in fact $32 cheaper. Yes, $70 for a month of gas and electric is still a lot for a studio, but not with all the talk of record energy prices.

So the evening is done, and somehow, without actually doing the math, I feel like I ended up on top.

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