shadows of our past, and two things I want to do (but don’t) immediately after travel
Do I look like I’ve gained weight? I ask. He says no. This is a tired routine. I always ask, he always says no. I say, You’re lying. He says, No I’m not. I look at the right side of my butt in the mirror. He sits down in my chair. I say, You always say that. He says, Well, honey, I don’t know what to tell you. I ask, So, seriously, I don’t look like I’ve gained weight? He says, No, you don’t. I say, But I don’t look like I’ve lost weight? He says, No, you don’t.
This seems impossible to me. It seems biologically impossible to stay the same size, although I must. It seems one must always be either bigger or smaller than they were at some arbitrary point in time to which all things are compared.
“Wasted” by Marya Hornbacher
I arrived in Canada Thursday night, exhausted from three flights, I-don’t-know-and-don’t-care how many time zones, and firmly in I-can-smell-myself-and-it-ain’t-pretty zone. Fed and showered, I finally crashed at 11pm, hoping that a long day, and a relatively late bed time will be enough to magically propel me into the correct time zone the next morning.
Futility of that particular hope became clear to me at 3.30am – wake-up time. The cats enjoyed an extra early breakfast, and I started on a pot of Pilot coffee. By 7pm, I am horizontal on my couch, enjoying the special hell, called jet lag.
Too tired to sleep, too dumb to think.
Through the haze, the temptation is still here.
Here are the two things that I really really really want to do as soon as I get back from a trip:
1. hop on a scale (to assess the “damage”)
2. restrict my food (bring on the egg whites and chicken breast!)
Cue my blog post on how freedom to travel and explore comes with certain trade-offs. Let’s consider the possible consequences of following through with these “helpful” post-vacation strategies (spoken from experience).
HOP ON A SCALE
“Let’s just find out how bad it is!”, the crazy voice in my head suggests. “You, fat cow, you”, it adds in a barely audible whisper.
Possible outcomes of actually weighing myself are:
1. I am heavier than I think I should be, thus, I feel miserable.
2. I am MUCH heavier than I think I should be, thus, I feel VERY miserable.
3. I am just a little bit heavier than I think I should be, thus, I still fucking feel miserable.
If you are looking for a winning scenario, stop right now. None of my weight variations (plus or minus thirty pounds) have ever been able to make the voice happy, and to make the cattle references go away.
170lb? MOO MOOO MOO.
Um. Yeah. No, thanks.
RESTRICT MY FOOD
After few weeks of eating out, not having access to the kitchen, and watching my grandmother pour soy sauce, vegetable oil AND mayo on a perfectly good salad, the temptation to power up MyFitnessPal, and to start chowing down on 1-cup portions of egg whites with sauteed spinach is strong.
It’s “just to get back into the swing of things”, the already familiar voice coos. “Just for a few days, my precious”.
What a lying bitch.
Few days of egg whites and spinach usually lead to a jar of peanut butter, and the functional relationship I have finally developed with this heavenly substance over the course of many years, flies out of the window. If I am lucky, Italian finds me about half jar in with a spoon in my mouth, and the guilty look on my face you thought only dogs could produce.
And so, I make a point of doing neither.
The scale stays stashed behind the washing machine somewhere for the day I need to weigh my cats, and to ensure that they are still fat and adorable.
And the fridge slowly fills up with familiar staples, including the aforementioned egg whites, and spinach, but also eggs, cheese, and, yes, peanut butter. Oh, and cookies for coffee, which after some negotiation, invariably make it into the shopping cart.
What proves to be therapeutic, however, is immediately heading out to the mall to purchase a pair of pants that make one’s ass look and feel like a million bucks. Bonus points if the actual pants cost LESS than a million bucks, because… savings.
Your husband sips his coffee, saying, But, dear, I don’t really care if you’ve gained weight. And you, triumphant, logical as the Red Queen, shriek, You see? I have gained weight! I knew it! And he sighs. You ask again, Do I look fat? No. Plump? No. Round? Well, you’re a woman. What do you mean? I mean-I mean–
I picture husbands all over the world, hovering in doorways, caught in a terrible tangle of language, feet and hands bound by these slippery words, glossy and meaningless as the pages of a magazine.
“Wasted” by Marya Hornbacher