I hate lunch. It is definitely my least favorite meal of the day. And by far the most boring. And also disruptive, much like an intermission during a play. Which I also hate. Not the play. The intermission. I frequently choose to skip it altogether. The lunch meal, not the play.
I have read that skipping meals isn’t healthy. It sends your body’s glucose levels plummeting, which in turn deprives the brain of energy. While I certainly don’t want to deprive my brain of anything, it is, in fact, that very organ that has formed my attitude.
Remember Jiminy Cricket, the self-righteous insect with the top hat who was Pinocchio’s conscience? I believe his cousin, Joey, has taken residence in my frontal lobe. I’m sure he’s the one responsible for steering me past the temptations of the pizza parlor, the deli, the pretentious little French bistro, and not pausing until he gets me to the salad bar. And I’m also working up a considerable hatred towards salads.
Except for lunch, I feel I have a reasonably healthy relationship with meals. Each morning, I consume a filling and nutritional breakfast, and look forward to dinner as a marker of the close of another day.
And think about it. How can you really enjoy a meal that it not consumed with an interesting beverage? In the morning, one can relish that life-infusing freshly brewed cup of coffee. At supper, a nice, relaxing glass of wine, or cocktail of your choice.
But what can you say about a meal that is usually accompanied by a glass of water? If you want to jazz it up a bit, you can get the kind with bubbles. They call it “sparkling” water perhaps to convince you that it actually has some character.
Being a “retired” person, I no longer have a designated lunch hour built into my day. But for many years, I did. I would occasionally sit in a crowded coffee shop with a colleague and dare to eat a tuna fish sandwich.
But for the most part, I preferred to use that time for walking and window shopping. OK, so it wasn’t always window shopping. Sometimes it was actual shopping. A lot of the time it was actual shopping. It would have been far more economical to order that tuna fish sandwich, even if I didn’t eat it.
Now that I write from home, I’m likely to wander to the kitchen, open the refrigerator, stare into it, and decide there’s nothing to eat. Of course there’s nothing to eat. I’m the one that does the grocery shopping and lunch food never makes it to the list. Perhaps there are leftovers from the previous evening, but somehow they seem less appealing in the light of a new day.
I realize that hating lunch has put me at a social disadvantage. As a rule, I don’t tend to arrange lunch dates. Therefore, I don’t get to see my friends perhaps as often as I might. If one of them should suggest meeting for lunch sometime, I might off-handedly agree. And the intent is sincere. I may even tell myself that this time it will be different. That I will actually follow up and arrange a date, for, let’s say, 12:30, next Tuesday?
But the reality is quite different, and I pray that my friend, or by now, possibly former friend, is not sitting by the phone with her stomach growling. I hope all my friends have come to understand that I really do love them. It’s lunch I hate.
There are those rare occasions when I actually do “do lunch.” And I have to say the companionship is quite agreeable. If only it didn’t involve eating lunch. I’m never the one to suggest a location. What difference would it make? Wherever we dine, Joey the Cricket automatically directs my eyes to the salad selection. With a glass of water on the side. No bubbles, please.
Perhaps one day in the not too distant future (I’m at an age when it’s best not to contemplate the distant future) I will be able to shed my concern about carbs and calories, and at 12:30 pm, enter the deli and order a big, fat sandwich on two pieces of fresh rye bread. Or duck in for a quick slice of pizza. Or indulge in a delicious triangle of quiche.
When that day finally arrives, and I grant myself permission to eat whatever the hell I really want, I just might possibly tell Joey to take a walk, and learn to love lunch. Or maybe Joey will just fade away. What’s the life span of a cricket, anyway?