Monday, July 5, 2010

The Long, Hot Weekend

On Friday I went down to the Jersey Shore with high hopes of a spectacular weekend. It was nice and relaxing, and I spent a significant amount of time on the beach which was great. But, I found myself still chasing fun standing in the middle of the Parker House feeling wildly out of place and 20 years older than everyone else. I have had some great times there in the past, but this weekend was similar to others spent there this year -- people watching and trying to shoe-horn in college-age thrills to fill some temporary personal void, and failing. Hours earlier I was loading up my shopping cart with gorgeous fruits and vegetables and grilling a fabulous vegan wrap - then in some weird fit of pathetic loneliness at a crowded bar I tried to emulate the younger guys in their frat-boy surges. It is in moments like these I stupidly resist the need to be a grown-up because my mind wanders to many years ago when I had a few great times in this place.  Oh, well, I ended the late night only eating half a slice of pizza after purchasing two of them.

But the best thing about the weekend was buying a weekend's full of cherries, watermelon, peaches, tangerines, and plums. I also got zucchini, summer squash, onions, tomatoes, and shitake mushrooms.

The 4th of July weekend is all about tradition for me, and that means having a BBQ. We certainly grilled, but next to the hot dogs and hamburgers were my pristine vegetables. In a tortilla wrap I spread with a generous helping of humus I added the perfectly grilled vegetables, and tofu -- although the presentation was not as good as the vegan wrap at the Union Square Coffee Shop, it was twice as good! I have no problem making it my new traditional Independence Day meal!

I did have some minor victories as well. When my good friend took the flavored Vitamin Water bottles out of the freezer to fill half way with vodka for the beach I refused. He jokingly said, "screw you," but decided to not take the bottle to the beach either. Again, it is all in the socialness of the desire to drink. He didn't want to bring his plastic bottle cocktail if I was not going to be joining him.

Saturday night was a party at a friends house where for the first time I was surrounded by people my own age and older. But even that was not the knee-slapping good time I wished it to be. And this goes to my core, the thing I have battled - my desire for all or nothing. I used to be a prisoner to the adage: If one is good, ten is better, and when it came to this over-indulgence, one was too many, and ten was not enough. Well, I conquered that in the area of food. I am winning, all things considered, in the area of drinking. But even with weekend parties and nights out I wanted it to be the greatest time ever or the night was a failure.  As I better myself, as I reach my goal, as I do things that improve upon who I am that is sure to go away too.

At the party there was an enormously obese women in her mid-40's sitting by herself and not talking to anyone. She looked a little lonely (for all I know she could have been perfectly content, but in my narrow mind if you are not holding court with a crowd of people then you are lonely). I dragged my chair over and introduced myself -- unfortunately, she was terrifically boring and I regretted my effort to make a new friend. It was my fault for taking pity on this woman because she was heavy and seemingly alone. I should not be so judgemental of people in how they look no matter how well intentioned.

The weather was remarkable and the ocean was cool and know, I thought I saw something in the distance and my heart raced a bit. 35 years after I sat in my parents little Honda at the Drive-In (eating a chili cheeseburger from the famous burger place Tommies, I seem to remember), I still think of Jaws when I am in the ocean!

Yesterday was an interesting lunch, and very good! My buddy's girlfriend made Hiyashi Chuka - cold ramen soup. Perfect for a scorching summer day! It was ramen noodles in a cold soup with vegetables. I loved it.

Today I went to Klein's seafood for lunch. It is quite famous, but honestly, it is not that fantastic. I had an urge for fried clams. Why? Because it's summer! And I remember that awesome time back in 1991 when I would eat fried clams in Hyannis Port, Cape Cod and the world was at my feet! My mind works that way sometimes. I remember having an awesome time at the Parker House in 2004 and I try to recreate it come hell or high water. I remember enjoying fried clams back when the first Bush was in the White House, and I think I could recreate that time for me now. Well, I knew better, but I ordered them anyway and it felt like a gallon of grease was eating away all the wonderful nutrient dense food I ate all weekend. Maybe I just needed to remind myself that living on past enjoyments is not the best path to take. It worked.

The stupid fried clams was by far the worse thing I ate - 1 out of 10 ain't bad.

Actually, the best moment of food choices came one morning when a house full of hungover people were choking down greasy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches and I made my oatmeal with peanut butter and raisins. The fact that those bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches looked gross to me, even after a pathetic chase for fun the night before, speaks volumes of where I have come in this quest to change my life.

1 comment:

Terrence said...

Ashok - thanks for your note about a Lovegan diet. One of the things I set out to do 8 months ago is focus solely on the nutritional benefits of veganism, and now a nutrient dense diet. I have kept the ethical discussion largely out of this blog. Thanks for reading.