Thursday, August 5, 2010

Question My Tailoring, Don't Question My Ice Water

Yesterday I grabbed lunch with a friend up at Redeye Grill - a cavernous, and popular seafood restaurant across from Carnegie Hall. We both got salads, and even though I tried to eat around the crumbled bleu cheese I had enough to remember that I used to like it, and now I don't. My guilt in eating probably less than 3 oz of blue cheese was increased when the manager came around with a tiny buttermilk biscuit out of the oven - it was on the tray and everything. It was quite small, less than half the size of a typical dinner biscuit, but I gobbled it down impulsively, and then properly cursed myself. At the end of the meal he came around again, and this time with a hot tray of chocolate chip cookies! Well, that was no bother at all - no friggin way! The two women next to us each grabbed one. They were fairly over-weight and since we started chatting (being in the same business as my friend) they raved about the cookies and chirped that it is "OK" because "They are so small." Certainly true that a small cookie is better than a sleeve of cookies from a box, but from the looks of their salads (covered in gobs of high fat dressing), the amount of biscuits they went through, and their overall girth, I would say that these are women who consciously want to eat healthy, but their health dies the death of a thousand cuts. Meaning, I think they probably pick a little non-nutritious food here and there and justify it...hourly. "Oh, those cookie were small," or "I had a salad." But in actually, I bet if you lined up the daily calories of some guy who eats at a fast food restaurant for all three meals and the calories of this woman who cancels out healthy eating (salad) with unhealthy attachments (creamy dressing, many bread rolls, cookies), they would be about the same. Besides, having a small cookie as a guilty pleasure is so much more satisfying and guilt free if it is in addition to a nutrient-dense meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner day in and day out.

An old friend wanted to meet me for an urgent discussion, so from a scene right out of a John Le Carre novel we had a rendezvous in the corner of Bryant Park. Although the conversion was quite surprising, it was hardly urgent, juicy, but not urgent, and in actuality the biggest takeaway was her scolding me for wearing a sport jacket that was so big on me, "You look like the kid from the film Big." Yeah, I've been meaning to get this one taken in.

After work I went to the gym. Well, first I went to Modell's in Times Square who is having a terrific sale on sporting goods so I loaded up on work-out clothes. Ladies, the same excitement you get from a Barney's sample sale I got for my 2 Russell gym shorts for $16.

Happily, the New York Jet cheerleaders were at the gym and I had a rather decent work-out. It is amazing how bored I get with the treadmill, and other machines in the gym and long for the work-outs in Central Park!

After the gym I met my buddy and a couple of his colleagues who I had not seen in a while. We met at the recently expanded and beautified Irish Pub on 7th and 54th. I was still sweating from the gym and the heat and humidity made me a sad soaked site. I ordered a pint of ice water and this drunk, fat, bearded 60 year old bellows, "Get the hell out of here!" in a pathetic attempt to be funny. He then joked with the Irish bartender like he was his best friend (the barman just rolled his eyes) asking if he knows how to make one. In a crowded bar he humored no one, and when he saw that I was actually friends with this bartender as well and not some meandering tourist slowing down the works of a crowded midtown pub with an order of water, he sheepishly went quit. Why is it when I am challenged for drinking water it bothers me so much? It is like I view it as sport, and I was really, really good in this sport for years, and now that I am semi-retired if someone questions my teetotalerism I either want to deck him, or challenge him to a drink off, or both! Childish, I know, but it really bothers me sometimes.

Well, after an hour I did have a pint of Guinness with my friends and had lots of laughs. When I got up to leave and put on my sport jacket both women (in the fashion industry no less) chastised me for wearing a sport jacket two sizes too big! I really need to get that jacket altered!


Vegan Epicurean said...

Sad story about the ladies at the next table. But I think they are rule rather than the exception. Americans in general seem to have problems with moderation.

Habits (like the biscuit) run deep. I have found myself starting to do similar things, like Pavlovs dogs salivating at the ring of a bell.

I agree with you that treats need to be worked in sometimes or you won't be "happy". But most people seem to add them daily or more often.

Did you drop off that jacket yet? ;-)

I get excited about exercise garb myself. Though a Barney's sale would make my heart beat faster.

hope you are having a good Thursday,

Naina said...

Drop off your jacket. :)

The saddest thing about the ladies.......they believe they are eating healthy. They think they are cursed with slow a metabolism. :(

I am sure in your mind you associate being able to down a few drinks, as manly. Fortunately, you realize now that this is adolescent thinking. The problem remains that the majority of the men you associate with are stuck in this adolescent mindset; thus causing you to feel the need to prove yourself. However, should you resort to this adolescent behavior and PROVE yourself, you will leave feeling less powerful.

I have similar issues when it comes to living my life for God.
Others that don't understand, see me as less "in the know" Yet, if I adapt myself to their lifestyle to PROVE "I've got it going on" I lose.

May you continue to grow, and find peace in the process. :)

Anonymous said...

I can certainly understand the frustration with the commentary from the gentleman in the bar - but do you think it is fair to identify him by his weight ( ie: fat) I mean, did you like it when people called you fat instead of pointing out what really bothered them?

While your weight loss and lifestyle change are commendable, your increasing judgmental commentary of others ( particularly those who are overweight) has no place and earns you no respect.

Understandably, you may loathe and fear the lifestyle you used to live, it is quite apparent in your writings that you use those who still live that lifestyle as a means of channeling that loathing and fear.

If you are as serious about helping others as someone was about helping you, perhaps you should drop the "holier than thou" and the put downs. It has become a noted trend in your postings and quite a turn off to any reader who has ever experienced weight concerns or cared about someone else who did.

After all, no one is perfect. I noticed errors in your spelling and grammar but I didn't stop to call you poorly educated, so perhaps you should stop pointing out others who you see as 'fat', or with 'girth' or any of the other pet terms you use for those who don't fit your standard of body type.

That attitude dismisses anything positive you may actually have to offer.

Terrence said...

Thanks for your comments Anon. One of the things I have consciously attempted to do is to be brutally honest with this blog - especially about my failings, not only with food and drink in the past, but the present, as well as my judgmentalism. I have been very open about chastising myself in this blog when I have either been terribly judgement al as well as when I have actually cursed at someone (like the guy in line at the train station). I felt awful, and instead of keeping it to myself I let the readers know my shame, but also point out that crudely in this world it seems negative comments about the obese are the last acceptable form of bias.

Also, I have had many friends tell me over the years, "Dude, you are getting fat!" And yes, it bothered me, but not as much as being bothered by the truth - I was!

Perhaps, I am too honest with my words, and I do not want to offend anyone, but I also don't want to tip-toe around this problem. I think there is a huge swath of people who like to watch how morbidly obese people have dropped 200 lbs, but they really cant identify with them. With me, I am the average guy with your average shortcomings and people identify with that. I guess I call it as I see it, but I also leave room for debate and interpretation --- like you have so kindly taken the time to write here. And I thank you for it!