“THE ONE WITH THE DECAF CHAI”
To help keep my symptoms of Fibromyalgia less debilitating, I’m on a very restricted diet. No grains, sugar, dairy, most fruit, etc. etc. (I call it the “NO” diet.) Monitoring my food does not heal me, but I do feel better when I follow what I know works. I’ve been doing one form of diet or another since my mid-twenties. Even so, maintaining my willpower remains a constant challenge.
After slip-sliding my way into enjoying way too many FOODS I WANT TO EAT BUT SHOULDN’T, I realized I needed to get myself back on my official “NO” diet. (Waah!).
At around 9:00 p.m. on day three of the ramped up diet, I was starving and opening cupboards and the refridgerator door in my kitchen, going back and forth, hoping against hope that some magic food would appear that could satisfy my desires. My blood sugar hadn’t stabilized, and sugar detox made me jittery and grumpy.
After dinner snacking has always been my downfall because I’ve eaten consciously all day and I want a REWARD. I’ve done my share of turkey roll ups, almonds, spinach, salmon, or for extra special fun, a tiny bite of goat cheese. All I want to do is stuff my face with: chips/crackers/and chocolate-preferably in brownie or cookie form.
I gave up on the possibility of any food fulfillment, and decided to make one more turkey roll up. The combined smell of mayonnaise and turkey made me queasy and my fingers got slimy from piling turkey, avocado, mayo, and goat cheese on my plate. (Keep in mind that this is a turkey roll up with NO tortilla…)
As the water for tea began to whistle, my husband Andy, also scrounging for a snack, cut himself a fresh piece of the peach pie I bought for him that day. (Am I the best wife ever?). As I stared down at my plate, I noticed Andy rummaging around in the tea drawer looking worried. He painstakingly took out each box of tea, put it on the counter, then picked up every loose tea bag still in the drawer, one at a time, looking at it carefully.
I should mention here that my husband is the master of routine. I love that about him. (Most of the time.) Every night he makes Decaf Chai with a splash of half and half along with dessert. If we’re watching TV on the couch together, he sweetly puts his evening treat into a bowl so I don’t have to see what he’s eating. This happens EVERY night. I’ve long since stopped paying attention to him in order to keep my own sanity, but I can still hum a tiny song of ‘poor pitiful me’.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him.
“There’s no Decaf Chai.”
He looked upset, pitiful, like it’s the WORSE THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO HIM.
“Well don’t expect me to feel sorry for you,” I said, as I tried to roll up the turkey and a chunk of goat cheese fell out.
“Why not?” He had the same blank look as he gets when tell I him we need to “Talk”.
“Are you frickin’ kidding me?” My inner detox demon focused with laser vision onto my husband. An easy target. “Why do you think?”
“I don’t know.” He froze with a deer in the headlights panic.
“Look!” I pointed my finger at my plate. I kept my voice low, trying to hold back the crazy that was ready to fly out at him. “I’ve got to eat a turkey rollup at 9:00 at night! And every night for the foreseeable future, and you have the nerve to be upset because for ONE NIGHT, one stupid night, you don’t have your Decaf Chai?” My low voice rises along with my volume. “For one stupid night in how many years I didn’t notice you were out of TEA?”
I went on and on, while my husband shrank against the kitchen cabinet door.
Andy hates fighting and lets most things roll off his back, but he tried to speak up in his defense. “I’m sorry you’re having a hard time, but it’s not my fault.”
I wasn’t buying any of it. I wanted to fling my turkey rollup in his face. “Poor, poor you,” I growled at him.
Even as I said this, I knew I’d gone way beyond rational and way beyond fixing this with an easy apology, so thank God a faint, barely noticeable Voice of Reason forced me to stomp my way out of the kitchen to the living room couch. Rage had captured every cell in my body. I felt angry at everyone, everything, my limited life, and the entire universe. At the same time, to add my misery, I piled on a massive guilt trip because I really do have a great life aside from health issues.
I burst into tears. Which in retrospect was the best strategy. Tears are my “get out of jail free” card, guaranteed to create sympathy. It certainly works better than screaming like a banshee. My husband bravely came and sat with me until my tears became hiccups, then nose blowing, then words, then another cycle of wailing until I finally calmed down.
Andy held me as I apologized for being looney-tunes. Then he apologized for not getting it.
After a few more minutes of talking, we went back into the kitchen. Andy chose Apple Spice tea. I took a bite of my turkey rollup. This time, a chunk of avocado slid onto the plate, taking with it most of the lettuce. I scarfed it all down in about two seconds, washed my sticky, slimy fingers, then settled in to the couch with Andy who’d added vanilla ice cream to his bowl of peach pie. I glanced at it once, managed to keep my mouth shut, and focused back on the TV show ‘Friends’.
This was the episode called “The One With The Ride Along”. Any fan of ‘Friends’ knows that Joey believes in food like some people believe in God. Joey, Ross, and Chandler, were on a ride-along with a NY cop. Joey had brought a sandwich to munch on. He claimed with utter conviction and awe, that it was the best sandwich in the city.
At one point they thought they heard a gunshot from nearby and Joey dove right in front of Ross, keeping him out of harms way. The cop called Joey a hero, even though it turned out it was only a car backfiring. Afterwards, Ross couldn’t stop thanking Joey, gushing about how brave Joey was to try to protect him, and that Ross would be in debt to Joey for the rest of his life.
Then Ross finds out that Joey was just trying to save his sandwich.
Boy, do I get that.