when I was nineteen and staying on a kibbutz in Israel, I was seriously hella sleep-deprived. Seriously hella sleep-deprived. I mean, I was for most of my adolescence and early adulthood, right, because things are messed up in my brain, but like. I would wake up every morning too late to go to breakfast and go straight to class or work, depending on the day, and then eat lunch and then go to either work or class, whichever one I hadn't been to yet, and then I would come back to my room and fall asleep. I had no choice about this. At least once I fell asleep on the staircase to my room. The outdoor staircase. The outdoor stone staircase. Just started walking up it and was asleep before I got to the top. That is how tired I was.
anyway, I'd usually manage to wake up a few hours later, but by then I would have missed dinner. So not only was I seriously hella sleep-deprived, I was also not getting more than one meal a day. I was also walking a fair distance every day, and carrying piles of laundry in my arms at work. I lost a lot of weight, but I doubt I was particularly healthy. (People would compliment me on it and it would make me uncomfortable. Then they'd be like "just take the compliment, gosh" and I'd be trying to explain "no but I do not want to lose weight" and it was all very not good. But not the point of this story.)
I was living with two roommates who were... hm. Strongly opinionated individuals, with strong boundaries, and strong tempers, and our room was very very very small. Eventually one of them had to move out, our living habits were that irreconcileable. But one thing they would always invariably get into it over was anyone taking anyone else's food. Because we did have a teeny itty-bitty grocery store, of sorts, though to me, a Midwestern American more accustomed to Meijer's, it was more like a commissary— significantly smaller than your average gas-station convenience store. But it was there, and you could buy food. I almost never did, because, again, I was never awake and free when it was open. But my roommates would buy food, and keep it in our cupboards, and steal it from each other and then get into screaming matches over it. I mean, they got into screaming matches over plenty of other things, too. Very small space. Very large personalities. Looooooots of drama.
I didn't fight with them all that much. I tried to keep out of it and let them be distracted by each other and not take sides. I knew better than to think I could steal a single cookie without its loss being noticed. And I did not want that drama.
But I was hungry. And what I could steal, I realized, was the peanut butter.
Because a missing cookie, you can see where it's missing. Mix the peanut butter up a bit, no one can tell you stuck a knife in and licked it clean. So when I woke up and dinner was over and the grocery store was closed and I wasn't going to get to eat until lunchtime the next day, I would creep over to the cupboard and sneak a small enough amount of peanut butter that I was confident it would not be missed.
Anyway, this was... *counts* ...about seven years ago. But every time I eat peanut butter now, it still tastes like sneaky-triumph-barely-staving-off-