A few weeks ago, while out for Thai with a friend, I elicited a few head shakes by ordering dinner with my proprietary blend of self-effacement and high-maintenance demands: "Hiiii, I'm going to be a little difficult here. Sorry (shrug) -- neurotic. Okay, I'd like the seafood grilled, without oil. That's no oil. No fat. And steamed broccoli, please. Also without oil. Sauce on the side. Thank you. Make that extra broccoli, thanks so much." (I always wrap it up with an apologetic smile -- 'I know I'm a pain in the ass. Please don't drizzle ipecac on my meal.')
When the food arrived my friend's eyes grew wide and she breathed, "Wow... there's enough food on that plate for three people." Indeed, the broccoli was piled high; it was just what I'd wanted. I told her, "Give me 15 minutes," and I tucked in.
When it was all over she stared at my empty plate and shook her head slowly. "I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes." To which I replied, "Yeah, not the first time someone's said that to me. How 'bout some frozen yogurt?" It's possible this friend only hangs out with me for the freak value.
A few nights ago I met my family for dinner at the same Thai restaurant and ordered essentially the same dish. My Mom and my sister offered me bits of their own coconut soups and noodle dishes, but I politely declined, stating that "Really, I'd like to be alone with my vegetables now."
And then yesterday, when I met John for lunch before heading home for the Passover seder, I loaded up a styrofoam container with an admittedly obscene quantity of salad bar veggies. I did so in anticipation of a fattening meal many hours away; lunch would have to keep me full for a while with as few calories as possible. John has known me a long time; this wasn't the first time he'd watched in amazement (and a little bit of disgust, though he claims to love me just the same) as I scarfed down more comestibles than his 6'2", 185-pound body could ever pack in during a single sitting.
As we were wrapping up the meal, chit-chatting about some recent drama in my love life, his gaze suddenly softened and he said to me, "Honey, give me your hand." I reached across the table and he cupped my paw between both of his, squeezing gently with a tender look in his eyes. "There's something I need to tell you."
"Oh, shit," I thought, "here it comes. We finally make nice like old friends, and I get a little loose-lipped, and finally he's going to break and run, tell me he can't handle the idea of me with other men. I knew this would never work. I shoud've known you can't be friends with an ex."
John continued, "In the last six months or so -- since about the time you came back into my life last fall -- I have not..." and here he paused and swallowed hard. I held my breath for two seconds while he collected himself.
"In the last six months I have not... um... eaten as much salad as you just scarfed down in the last eight minutes. That really was amazing. Really, just... I honestly don't know where you put it all. Just thought you should know; I'm inspired."
And then we busted up while I slapped him on the arm and scolded, "What the hell are you trying to do, give me a heart attack?" and he shot me his trademark 'Gotcha!' grin and we both enjoyed a hearty laugh.
But I sort of have to wonder... could I be a vegeholic?