Catnapped and Doggone
All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
Peanuts -- Lucy Van Pelt
There’s no other way to do it. I’m going to have to rip the band-aid off. My name is Gabi and I don’t eat for comfort. Worse, I’m an American in the land of the delivery pizza, the takeout Chinese, the biggie fry and that’s not where you can find me when all has gone wrong. Not that I won't consume any care packages forwarded by my culinary CM compatriots. I'm just going to eat them when they get here, storm clouds notwithstanding.
I am not an alien. I do eat. Lots. I love my stepfather’s spaghetti (before you put the sausage or meatballs in, thanks) and I never met a chocolate bunny I didn’t adore the ears off. I have an account at quisp.com and single-handedly skewed the chocolate goldfish buying habits of my local big box warehouse store. I may even have kept the Diet Coke people in business during the recession. But that’s just a normal Tuesday or other day ending in ‘y.’ It’s not emotional eating. It’s lunch.
Comfort, when I seek it, comes in different forms. First, I don’t seek it often. It’s not that I don’t need it or wouldn’t appreciate it but I spent a lifetime building my reputation as truly scary and not to be messed with and Linus’ blanket would dull the impact. Then again, the occasional pet-pet-pet of Snoopy appears to the naked eye like absentminded decency towards animals instead of the fur therapy it really is so I guess that would technically count as comfort.
There are movies that make me feel better. 101 Dalmations. High-tech fur therapy and the dalmations sooted to pass as Labradors could be in the family portrait of my beloved Koko don’t affect the daily weigh-in. Likewise, The Quiet Man, a strangely sweet John Wayne in Ireland tale might be found in my DVD player when the sky is leaden. I think it’s the roses he plants next to the wee cottage. You’ve never seen an unhappy Leprechaun, have you? Or one with the top button of his lederhosen undone? It’s the wee cottages.
There are places that make me feel better. Disney World with my parents. It’s like going with two 12 year olds. They want lots of high fat food before being spun on some ride. Nothing can talk them out of it. We’re talking dill pickle on a stick (the size of Oscar Meyer Weinermobile) followed by the Scrambler. I am not even making that up. There’s something comforting in knowing that my mom can laugh and throw up simultaneously. There’s more comfort in knowing that as soon as she’s up off her knees, she’s going to need cotton candy and a ride in the tea cups (which for the record three adults can get in but given the way the door closes those same three adults cannot exit the ride without a happiest place on earth assistant). Maybe you could consider it indirect comfort food. Then again, I doubt I’d feel comforted when I was as green as the pickle. It’s not a good look for me.
It’s possible I take the most comfort from the calorie out activities. We’re not talking Ironman burns but the Crayola’s box of 64 with the built-in sharpener has definitely cost me a couple or three calories. Every year about this time I buy a new box. I love the way they smell. I can peel the labels off each magic color stick (maybe 1 calorie/10 denudings) and breathe deeper as the fir green and burnt umber packaging curls helplessly into the garbage can. It’s like watching roller waves curl over a tropical beach except you don’t have to pay for luggage. And I don’t need the labels. Like any of the comfort “foods,” worrying about the labels is time misspent and guilt just waiting to attack the mellow.
If all else fails, I tell my troubles to my bear. The one my parents spent two years “breaking in” by driving over him, hanging him from the clothes line by one ear, resting him under heaving objects and general “loving him up” a little to resemble the teddy I lost when I was twelve. He was a present on my twenty-fifth birthday. Maybe they knew I’d need a little non-fattening, down low comfort from time to time and I wasn’t going to be able to find it in my largely ornamental kitchen. They’re sneaky smart that way.
Thanks for reading.