Lifestyle

HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: This is how you ride the recession rollercoaster

It’s tough times for everyone. A head of lettuce the size of an average human fist is about R26.00, which ultimately means that if you buy some and you’re one of those people who just let it lie there because you’re never going to actually eat lettuce, well, eat it. Eat it now.

Eat it as though it’s a potato chip and devour every wet, tasteless bite.

Recently I had to choose between rolls, tomatoes and lettuce. These are not choices I have had to make in at least seven years. Who knew that at the age of 38, I would have to relive this pit of struggles I thought I climbed out of, saving one rand at a time. But having done it, I am experienced in living a very full life with very little and no need to complain. And here’s how it’s done.

  1. Do not socialise, ever. Here’s the good part about this, we’re already kind of used to it. The pandemic has taught us how to sit at home and not go out, not going out means not spending money. But be warned, even for introverts it is completely natural to want to see friends now and then so sitting at home might have you wanting to eat a lot to fill that void of friendliness and you may be tempted to spend a lot of money on chocolates. Don’t. Go to bed sad and save.

  2. Pack your own snacks and take them wherever you go, and make sure wherever you go is as free as possible. There are people in history and currently who have been through worse. People have lived through genocides, rations and wars. Buck up. Make that lettuce and stale white bread sandwich and sit on the edge of a cliff and eat it while crying.

  3. With petrol prices through the roof, even though they have dropped slightly this week, start to be extremely fussy about when and where you use your car. For example, cut out all the long joyous ocean view drives on Sundays and picnics at wine farms. Use your motor vehicle for dreaded admin and errands only. Fetching your kid, going to a big box store so you can buy cheap groceries in bulk, and doing all this at 40km/h just to increase the time you have to think about end times.

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  4. If you have a cellphone contract, cancel it. If you don’t, do not buy airtime, well, keep some for emergencies. Emergencies are not catch-ups or maintaining long distance relationships. Calls are only to be made if you have either committed a crime, or someone is dying. In fact, stop talking altogether. Talking burns a lot of calories and no one is interesting enough to talk.

  5. Pull some cheap tricks out of the hat that may, in your not-so-distant past, have been completely morally disgusting. For example, if you live near an old-age home or a few, walk there and spend some time surrounded by grandpas who absolutely cannot wait to secretly slide a R5 into your hand to “buy you something nice”. Then go home and hide it so you don’t spend it immediately on like, a chappie or something.

  6. If you’re sick and suffering, do not go to the doctor. Do not! When you are at the end of your tether completely, Whatsapp wealthier friends from a place with free Wi-Fi and ask what the doctor prescribed the last time they were sick and if they have any leftovers, or do your best to replicate the medication using home remedies. For example, I am pretty sure there is a recipe out there that calls for boiled lettuce to clear up severe bronchitis.

  7. And finally, just because you have cut out gourmet meals, and have to take your own water bottle to a coffee shop if you need a change of scenery – but can’t afford to buy anything so you have to pretend you purchased the water there – it doesn’t mean you cannot eat well.

Two-minute noodles have also increased in price, however, they are still the cheapest thing in the grocery aisle and if you spread them over some toast, you have a meal you may have sold a kidney to pay for at a fine-dining restaurant. If you want you can even give it a cool fancy name to complete the fantasy.

For example, Medusa Ramen on a medallion of flame-grilled wheat.

Artmotion S.Africa

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