The last two weeks, I’ve been on vacation. And I’ve eaten food. Massive amounts of food. Where I was trying to lose weight, as soon as I got to my mother’s house, I decided that I needed to gain weight. Eat more food. Allow my entire being to be food. I don’t particularly like food. I hate eating and I won’t cook. But then I watched as my mother made one meal after the other with blinding speed and impossible dedication. And, like a good son I try to be, I took her grocery shopping. We shopped, and she put things in the cart that I couldn’t even name properly. She used words that I only heard on cooking shows and she later told me she heard these words on cooking shows. She put parsnips in the cart.
“We aren’t going to eat parsnips.”
“Wait,” My mother said. “I can only get food we are going to eat while you are here?
I have no idea where my lack of food lust comes from. And it doesn’t just pertain to food. My lack of consumables lust? My baby sister, who isn’t a baby, has tried and tried to get me to enjoy good wines and beer. With every urge, I just roll my eyes back and keep drinking the crappy beer I’ve always put down my neck. My older sister has tried to get me to eat healthy, and to that I just talk about the countless joys of fish sticks.
And it doesn’t just extend to my family. In Raleigh, my friend Kenneth takes me to a place that have fried chicken and waffles, two things that mix magically together. The chicken biscuit I have is infused with honey, and my body can’t inhale the food fast enough. Have I ever eaten food before? Will I ever be able to eat food again?
On the way from Raleigh to Wilmington, NC, I see a sign for Bojangle’s. I pull off the highway, park, order more food, Bojangle’s biscuits and biscuits and biscuits. There is something about the South inside those biscuits, as if the cooks in the back have taken the dirt and mixed it with the dough, kissed the dough, worked the dough with his hands and then there is nothing but love. I eat more Bojangle’s, make it a point to eat Bojangle’s whenever possible, because it’s always possible, because it’s the South and I’m home.
Then, on New Years, there are Oysters. Dear lord, when did I fall in love with oysters? My friend Will tosses a batch of oysters in front of me and I grab the oyster knife and I’m in the shell and I see the oyster and I eat it in one, fluid motion. I deep the cooked oysters in butter, I dip them in vinegar, I recognize when a shell has a massive oyster and I grab it before anyone else does, the steam coming out of the shell and the oyster sitting there waiting for me to scrap it out and chew on it and then go for one of it’s brothers or sisters. Food. Food. Food.
“How do you make punch?” I ask and then we all search the internet and find one million different ways to make punch. Then I just do what I want and make the punch, slices of oranges floating on top of it, so much rum and champagne that you become cross eyed just looking at it. Has it always been this way? Spending hours and hours preparing a meal and then, with passion and lust, eating it within minutes and sitting back and wondering if you’ve ever been so full? My last night in Wilmington, I have oysters, chicken, red potatoes, collard greens, black-eyed pees and beer. My friends and I eat in a circle, discuss the world, laugh and then I say my good-byes.
On the way to Charlotte, to the airport, I stop at Bojangle’s, eat slowly in my car, realize that my vacation is over, don’t want my vacation to be over, keep an extra biscuit and, right before going through security, eat it, slowly, watching all the people shuffle through the line, back to work, reality, and other things we try to avoid but never fully do.