This past Sunday I had a bit of a food meltdown. Matt and I were sitting in yet another super-cheap, dingy Chinese restaurant--the kind with an English menu, thank goodness. However, my food sucked. Really---it was slimy, undercooked, stinky, and secretly loaded with 3-4 short black hairs. Completely unappetizing. Even Matt didn't want to try it. Now that says something.
[Let me insert here that I hate to be the kind of picky, rich American who can sit down at a meal, only to turn their nose up and refuse to eat it, but can still afford to pay for uneaten food and manage to stop at Starbucks for an overpriced pastry afterwards to compensate. My mom taught me to always try everything and be adventurous. So, at these cheap restaurants, I really struggle with how to behave. Do I eat to be polite, hoping in vain not to offend the nice people who cooked and served me my meal? Do I just leave it barely touched, knowing that I will never go back there again? How do I live with myself knowing that there are starving children in Asia who would gladly eat my meal for me? If I keep trying everything set before me, will I eventually stop craving Chili's Chicken Fried Steak and start to really appreciate slimy, hairy, undercooked food? I'm starting to see that I spend most of my meals racked with guilt. Perhaps that's why everything tastes bad.]
I looked up at Matt with sad eyes, when something dawned on me. Not only was I not going to eat any part of my lunch, but I realized that I didn't feel any deep-seeded need to even attempt to like it. "No," I thought to myself, "I'm not even going to make an effort, and I'm perfectly ok with that." Something in me snapped and I began to embrace my pickiness. I felt I deserved to be picky. A girl can only take so much.
Matt looked at me with a glint in his eyes (that glint he gets just when he's about to be clever and funny and painfully honest, all at the same time) and said..
"Erika, do you ever think maybe you were born to be rich, and just aren't yet?"
[I pride myself on being adaptable and hardworking--never minding a little hardship and discomfort. I like thinking of myself as a farm-raised, tough-girl tomboy...sort of. So this recent realization that I wanted to be nothing but picky and selfish sort of threw me off a bit. Don't get me wrong--I'm often picky and selfish, it's just that I live in denial most of the time, so for once I was being completely honest about my true nature.]
So this prompted a discussion between us about if it's okay to hate Chinese food* and whether or not I'm really a picky eater or not. At one point I said,
"But I eat ding dongs and Little Debbie cakes. Lots of people hate those."
At which point Matt said, "Yeah, Erika, I think you are single-handedly keeping the snack cake companies in business."
By this time, as you can well see, the conversation had disinigrated into nonsense, so we paid for our food (mine still mostly untouched, but now minus the 3-4 short, black hairs because I had already very thoughtfully removed them) and left.
I'm not really sure what my point was to this blog, except maybe to emphasize that I'm still having some food issues. But as some great scholar surely said at some point, you can't live on eggrolls alone, so I'm bound to find a solution to my food aversions soon enough. Having my own kitchen will help considerably. That should happen by this weekend if everything goes well.
*I love eggrolls. They are exempt.