I know from past experience if I’m going to a function with a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres prior to eating a meal I should be prepared, and by “prepared” I mean being sure I’ve eaten enough so that I’m not starving by the time I get to the function.
That plan did not come to fruition yesterday.
Despite my best efforts with planning my eating, things did not go as smoothly as I hoped, and I wound up showing up at an evening work event ravenously hungry. I walked in to find a beautiful set up on several tables with creamy, beautiful cheese fondue, teriyaki chicken, vegetable crudites, sliced cheese (which included smoked gouda in the roster!) with fancy crackers, intricately sliced and arranged fruit, and mini beef wellingtons. Of course, such an array includes plates the size of the palm of your hand. I don’t know if it’s DID integration or a PTSD response or both or something else, but Letty could hardly handle all of this.
Here’s the internal dialogue that ensued:
“We need FIVE plates for all the food! Why are the plates so tiny?! Can I have like 5 of the puffy things (the mini beef wellingtons)?”
“Letty, we cannot take five plates of food, nor can we take five beef wellingtons. Five will not fit on a plate, and it will not look polite. We can take two beef wellingtons, 2 crackers, 2 pieces of cheese, a cube of bread with fondue, and one small piece of teriyaki chicken, and even that is really pushing it, but we can pull it off.”
“But, I’m hungry!”
“Sweetie, I know you’re hungry, and I’m doing my best to fix that. You are not going to go hungry. I promise you will eat.”
“I don’t understand why we can’t eat like it’s dinner, and eat until I’m not hungry anymore.”
“Honey, we can’t do that because it’s not meant to be dinner. It’s just meant to be a snack before a lecture.”
“But it’s not just a snack for me, and they have all this food here that I can just eat for my dinner.”
“I know, sweetie, I know. We will eat afterwards, I promise. This is not meant to be dinner for people.”
“Then why do they have all this food?”
“Because it’s a snack before a lecture.”
“That’s a big snack.”
“It’s not meant to be big.”
“Then why do they put out a lot of food?”
“That’s just how these kinds of things are.”
“Why are not a lot of people eating?”
“Because it’s not the focus of why we’re here. People are here to talk to each other, and listen to the lecture.”
“That’s dumb. Forget the lecture. We should just eat cause we have a lot of good food.”
And so the lecture started, and I could feel Letty looking over at the food station during the lecture. She could hardly believe that people could remain quietly seated with such vast quantities of food in our presence. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Meanwhile, I needed to pay attention to the lecture, as it was work-related.
Blessedly, the lecture concluded, and Letty wanted me to head towards the food. But, I had to chit chat with various people enroute to the food because I needed to pretend that the food was not a concern. One of the lecturers then made a bee-line for the beef wellingtons. He walked over to them, picked one up, and popped it into his mouth. Letty just about did cartwheels when she saw that.
“Okay, Letty, we can have some more food. But we have to be relaxed about it.”
At that point, my boss came right up beside me, “Can you believe all this food? Well, we paid for it. I’m taking a few cookies for the road. Don’t feel you like you need to hold back.”
And that was all Letty needed to hear. I looked down to see four beef wellingtons on a napkin, with one in our mouth.
(Photo credit: kjd)