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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Weirdo Table

Yes, it's true. If you read yesterday's post then you know it's out on the table: Pandora has a gluten allergy AND a dairy allergy and pizza has become her worst enemy.

Oh how life mocks me. All that my taste buds had grown to love gives way to what my stomach has grown to hate. And Thanksgiving weekend was none too kind to my new way of eating. I used a vacation day so I could sit at home, terribly sick, and wait for my digestive system to finish its rant against me.

All weekend I sat by and watched as others consumed pumpkin and pecan and cinnamon apple pies. All weekend I had avoided the stuffing and the gravy soaked potatoes. All weekend I sat wide awake with my plate of turnips and carrots while others laid on the floor in a food coma. But when the turmoil began at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, there was no one to blame but me.

After days of abstinence, I had allowed myself to give in to temptation and granted my palate the pleasure of a Chocolate Magma Cake. I knew it would probably do me harm, but it was a birthday celebration and to sit one more time over the long weekend and watch others eat a most tasty treat while I sat with my hands in my lap and my eyes averted to the ceiling was more than I could take. I had to eat it! I had to taste its chocolaty goodness! I had to feel normal! But as I hovered over the toilet in the dark of night I knew that "normal" was nowhere in my general vicinity. On top of that, I had to make yet another "family" appearance Sunday night and, though I did my best to avoid all things gluten and dairy, I don't know all of the ingredients that another has used to create a meal, and gluten has a way of hiding itself in things. Unsexy as it may be, I burped like an alien all night last night and when I woke up this morning I still wasn't well. I felt like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, after they disemboweled him so Grandma and Little Red Hood could escape and replaced his innards with rocks.

I really am not a fan of this part of my life. I'm like some kind of odd ball now. It's like I need to carry my own food with me no matter where I go. "Thanks for inviting me over for dinner. I hope you don't mind that I brought my own food. It isn't personal, I swear, I just don't want to die tomorrow. Not that your cooking is bad or anything, because it isn't, I'm just afraid it might kill me, but that's not a reflection on your cooking. I promise."

Seriously... What is that? I am a stickler for social grace. I was raised that way. It's a matter of respect. It's part of understanding people and meeting them where they're at. When someone invites you to their home and offers you a meal, you eat it, even if it isn't something you like! You eat it because you are rejecting their hospitality if you don't. Now, look at me! I'm some kind of freak! I'm the lady in the office that you all think is weird because she can't eat a burger and fries and smile while she does it! I'm the person that puts a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice on my plate while the rest of you make something called a sandwich! I can't walk into a room and eat just anything out of politeness, at least not without spending 24 to 48 hours sick after that. What did I do to deserve this? What kind of karmic punishment is this? What is going on? Is this some kind of argument for evolution? Am I one of the lucky humans whose body has evolved because it knows dairy and gluten are the biggest contributors to obesity and heart failure? Is this some kind of forced survival of the fittest? Natural selection? Or is this a downgrade? Does it mean that I'm dying because I can no longer biggie size something? Does it mean that the smiling people at the drive-thru will now spit on my salad with no dressing instead of my cheese burger? Is it going to be like Clan Of The Cave Bear where the people who were hurt by my refusal to eat pie will tell the witch doctor to throw down the bones and determine whether I can remain a member of the tribe? Am I going to be ousted to the weirdo table? Seriously! I need to find a white robe and a staff so I can at least present myself as some kind of guru and all people can sit at my table mesmerized by the fact that I would rather eat imaginary slack out of someone's hand than barbecued pork, because, well, taste is in the tongue of the beholder. Bring on the bland! The High Priestess of Hyper Allergenic Gastro Paresis lives!

I hate it, really, I do. I was making Hope's lunch this morning and I was talking to her and putting some of those cheesy bunny crackers in a bag when I absent mindedly popped one of the bunnies into my mouth and ate it. Then I stopped in mid sentence and looked at her and said, "I just ate that, Hope. I just threw that in my mouth without thinking and I ate it and I'm already sick!" And her little mouth turned down and she said, "I'm sorry, Mama. This is going to be really hard for you, isn't it."

Needless to say, I am miserable. I am miserable because I blew it on Saturday with the chocolate magma ice cream meltdown cake, because I most likely ingested additional gluten without knowing it, and my uniqueness has crossed over from the intellectual & spiritual into the physical where I can truly be seen as one crazy eccentric odd duck.

"See that woman over there? They say she's a writer."
"Which woman?"
"The one with a plate full of cranberry sauce."
"Cranberry sauce? That's all she's got? A plate full of cranberry sauce?"
"You know how writers are... always trying to be different."


It's okay though. At least I know I'm not alone. If the bones say that I have to pick up my zip-lock bag of nuts and berries and move on, at least I know the weirdo table to the north is more likely to hold stories about chemtrails and government conspiracies. Sure, they might smell like patchouli and tell me I'm really an alien from Planet Zircon, but at least I won't be lacking in the story department.

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