On the night of the letting go, I phoned my friend to tell her the news. She asked me if I had eaten or even if I was hungry. I said no to both. At that point I didn't even know what food was, I barely understood the concept of food, and the preparation of food, the complicated steps required to assemble food into a coherent edible mass was beyond my ken. She told me to come over and she would make some dinner for me. We talked and I ate. That's when I gave myself permission to have a beer on a Monday night because it didn't matter, tomorrow was not a work day. Tomorrow would never be a work day. I left her house feeling better for the food and the company. Kindness, I used to think, was in short supply. But Kindness seeks out Kindness in return. I could now take the time to have dinner out with friends, I could now take time out to have dinner out and the world will not fall apart-- and not because clearly the world has already fallen apart, but because this is how you put the world back together. Sharing meals with friends, sharing sorrows with friends, sharing laughs with friends, sharing life with friends. Life is short. Sharing life with friends and family cannot be placed in the "I'll get to it tomorrow" category.
The next night my sister invited me over to her house. Another item on my newly forming list of things to do with my new found time was to finally get to see my nephew who was home from college. My sister is an excellent cook, the kind that can make anything with what she has in her pantry, makeover a recipe if she knows she can make it better, or try a dish in a restaurant and then come home and improve it. I can't tell you how many things I no longer order when we eat out because I know my sister will make it better. She has that knack. I, however, did not inherit the same gene. As the oldest, my job was simple, put a meal on the table while my mom worked the late shift. I can make spaghetti, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, simple things, comfort foods. I never was that interested in the creative side of food. But as I sat down to another excellent dinner at my sister's, I thought now I have the time to take the time to spend learning how to really cook. I could add that to my now ever growing list of things do while on sabbatical. I could start to eat healthy and, more importantly, really eat. I never took the time to sit down and eat. Meals were grabbed on the run or a snack here and there. Often a protein bar would be my only meal of the day. Now was my chance to correct that.
Habits are hard to break. I have been eating on the run for so long. I noticed this morning that my oven had cobwebs on it. I do not know how my microwave would feel if I suddenly abandoned it in favor of the stove. Would I go through similar withdrawals? Changing habits is one thing, breaking habits is another. This will be interesting to see if I can succeed in changing my eating habits. My doctor told me at my last visit that I needed to change the way I eat. As a semi-vegetarian, getting enough protein has always been an issue for me. Combine that with horrible eating habits, I knew that this was the chance to get back on track.
Eating dinner over at my sister's had another benefit. I could finally watch that dusty movie I had Netflix'ed-- over 6 weeks ago! I could blame it on my busy schedule, sure. But really, I think I was just scared to watch The Wolfman on my own. I am huge fan of scary movies. I grew up watching Creature Features, the old fashioned kind with Bela Lugosi, so I was looking forward to this movie. But as I walking Marlowe later that evening and planning my meals for the week, I can certainly say I was very glad it wasn't a full moon that night. And that I was not on the menu.