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Hunger Challenge: Day Six

I was running late again on Friday morning, but this time just made a peanut butter sandwich and packed it, along with another container of the rice-beans-eggplant for lunch. I still had a pear at work that I’d taken Thursday and hadn’t eaten, so that would come in handy along the way.

As I walked to work, I set up a wall between myself and the rest of the world with my iPod, playing some of the angriest hip hop I could find, because it was the only music that matched my psyche.

Kim came into my office to meet with me about something that morning and shut the door.

“I have to warn you,” I said. “I am in a terrible mood.”

I was sick of being so very, very exhausted, sick of feeling like I had to plan every single meal with no room for error, even though, by this point in the week, it had become apparent that I would indeed have some food left over at the end. I was sick of black beans, sick of rice, sick of water, sick of bread that looked and felt exactly the same—not a sign of staleness—at the end of the week as it did at the beginning. I was sick of talking about the challenge. Sick of planning my life around it. And I had only been doing this for six days.

After work, I had plans to meet up with one of my former bosses (and friends!) from Iowa—she was in town for a conference and had contacted me earlier in the week to see if we could get together. I explained to her the situation with the challenge, and we agreed to just meet for after-dinner drinks—I would drink water while she had a cocktail. I figured this would be the final tough moment of the week—after all, I am a girl who loves a good cocktail, and hate to make anyone drink alone—but then I won tickets to Saturday afternoon’s A’s game.

BART was doing a giveaway via Twitter, and when I saw the first message asking for people to contact them for tickets, I did a little dance in my seat. I couldn’t take the Friday night tickets, but if I could score the Saturday night tickets, I decided I was going to abandon the challenge at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday. It would be less than five hours from the end, and I not only adore the sport, but I do adore sitting in the stands with a hot dog and a beer, and it seemed wrong not to participate fully.

Then I found out I had the tickets. But the game was at 1:05 p.m., not 7:05.

I started a mental rehearsal of how I would handle this. I checked the A’s site to see what I could bring in, thought through what I had left in my week’s stash that was actually packable as stadium food. I did have two slices of bread left and peanut butter, but I also had some celery and raisins and peanut butter. There was an apple. This was doable, but I was really worried about how badly the game was going to test my resolve.

I walked home from work Friday and looked at what I had left. I still had a container of black bean soup, but I couldn’t deal with eating it. I also had another container of brown rice, black beans and eggplant, but eating that twice in one day just seemed wrong. I ended up making myself some oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins and brown sugar, hoping it would tide me over for an evening downtown.

The oatmeal held me for the evening, and I had a lovely couple of hours talking to my friend at Bar Drake downtown. She sipped on her cocktail, and offered me a taste at one point. I waved it off—not only was it against my rules for the week, I didn’t want to know any more about what I was missing than I already did. I drank my glass of water, and tried to ignore the fact that my energy level continued dropping. By the time I got home at midnight, I had literally enough energy left to brush my teeth, strip off my clothes, and fall into bed.


One additional side note…in an incredible act of generosity, Tyson Foods has agreed to send up to 200,000 pounds of protein-based foods (chicken, etc.) to six Bay Area food banks in exchange for comments. Comments! They’ll provide 100 pounds per comment on this post. This is a way to make a donation with barely any effort whatsoever, so if you could, please take a minute of your time and go leave a comment over there.

6 Comments on “Hunger Challenge: Day Six”

  1. #1 Karen
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Hooray….thank you Tyson Foods. I’m happy to comment. Genie….the mental fog and fatigue are something sadly your body would get used to. It’s not the way folks should live. I’ve been wondering about all the poor decisions kids make and how their diet must impact that????

    Yesterday in my blog post I wrote about your hunger challenge and got a lot of e-mails from teachers that have such a struggle with how poorly cared for some of the children in their classrooms are. One told me a story about how one kid in her class quietly brings a granola bar for a boy in the class that he knows lives with very little. It gave me hope! To those who much has been given much is expected says the Scriptures.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. #2 Matt Youngblut
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Chicken for all!

  3. #3 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    on Sep 27th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Genie, I’ve really enjoyed this series of posts, and I applaud all the SF bloggers who took part in the challenge. There is a world of difference between “hungry” and “hunger”, isn’t there?

    Hats off to Tyson, which is also a sponsor of Share Our Strength’s Operation Frontline program so near and dear to my heart.

  4. #4 Zannie
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I try to give regularly to organizations that help the poor–I don’t believe that giving to panhandlers really helps them, but I do want to help, and a dollar in the hands of a well-run organization can provide more food for those in need than a dollar I might give to someone on the street.

    But with some reorganization of my finances earlier this year I let the donations fall by the wayside. Your posts recently have reminded me that it really is important, so earlier this month I set up my automatic payments again, and am donating monthly to the San Francisco Food Bank and the People’s Grocery in Oakland.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  5. #5 Michael
    on Sep 28th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I left my comment at Tyson, and I’m glad to see they’re putting forth some effort at fighting hunger.

    I’m curious as to what angry hip-hop you might have been listening to…

  6. #6 inadvertentgardener
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Karen, that’s so heartening about those stories from teachers — I’m glad to hear it. Yes — that kind of fatigue, even as one’s body adjusts to it, can’t support any kind of good, long-term decisionmaking. It’s really scary.

    Matt, thanks for helping!

    Lydia, I was so pleased to see Tyson contributing — such a huge difference! And yes — the difference between “hungry” and “hunger” is really quite startling.

    Zannie, I try to remind myself of that — the organizations do a better job managing the money — but often it’s difficult for me to remember that when faced with someone asking for money in the street. That immediacy really breaks my heart. I applaud you for restarting your monthly contributions — we should all follow your example in our local communities.

    Michael, thanks for leaving your comment at the other blog post! As for the music, I’ll be in touch with a playlist.

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