Last night I regressed, if mildly. After skipping dinner to catch a show (successfully, enjoyably) and purchase hair products (unsuccessfully, regrettably), I found myself puttering around my kitchen at 11:34pm, looking for things to press against or stir into or spread across other things in order to end up with something like a meal.

This search commenced after I dismissed my initial idea of walking 10 blocks for pizza. (I swear, if I thought it wouldn’t result in exhaustion and distended bowels I would make every single day a pizza-party day. I love that stuff so much, even when it’s the warmed-over kind with cheese that was never once chewy, and tastes like you ordered it at a roller-rink.) I am trying to be more frugal these days, as I have a way of making sure my future is uncertain. Plus, a friend of mine has been making me feel guilty for having too much stuff. I want to be more like Walt Whitman, but I think even Whitman would agree that TiVo is a pretty good idea in that it leaves more time for daylight constitutionals and gently poking at marvelous caterpillars with a hickory stick and such.

So, left with only the contents of my kitchen to guide me, I pulled some cheese (Iberico, because daddy doesn’t roll with that pepper jack shit), hummus (fresh once, now a little tahini-stinky), olives, crackers, and eggs. Seeing all of these items spread out before me, it made me realize I have given up on preparing home-cooked meals in my apartment so completely that when I go grocery shopping I merely stock up on appetizers.

I chewed on a couple of things but the food, like so much of my life, felt very incomplete as a meal. It was a series of poorly focused scraps and momentary distractions without any real sense of commitment or follow-through.

Then I remembered that I’m a big boy and I can eat big boy food, so I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with a glass of chocolate milk. (Soy milk because big boys have big boy difficulties digesting cow milk. Please also note, in the photograph link, the suspicious background presence of a bottle of bubbles. I was just thinking about how great it would be to answer that “what did you do this weekend?” question with, “I was really tired from work, so I just stayed in and blew bubbles. It was fun. I popped a bunch of them and, on Saturday, I made a bubble inside a bubble. I forgot to take a picture of it, though, and it popped when it landed on my lollipop.”) Here’s the thing about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: for an adult, they can be very centering. It’s the dietary equivalent of finishing a difficult yoga class in child’s pose. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but preparing and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an adult makes me feel both accomplished – no one needed to make this for me, and I paid for all the ingredients, and could use a knife without supervision – and allows me to see my entire life stretched out, and realize that even with all the small bumps of existential crises, the landscape is still pretty smooth. I’ve probably changed a lot since I was a kid. I’ve become more jaded, of course, and more saggy and hairy and measured and self-conscious and taller and deviant and observant and my spelling has improved considerably. But it’s nice to know I haven’t lost my taste for certain things.

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