I’m brilliant. Jen had questioned me after stating in that last entry that we had decided to do the vegetarian thing for only a month rather than the originally intended 6 weeks. She called me a sissy and a quitter and said I was spending more time watching football than with her. All this is actually probably true. However, I was able to convince her that it was her idea that we should only do it for a month. This is a technique I had come up with after years of working with Gary at UMBC and perfected out in Ohio with Ruchelle. I will not reveal just yet how it is done, but suffice to say, I was able to watch more football that night.
And that’s another reason I really wanted to shorten it to a month. Football season is just around the corner and if I can shorten this sentence to 31 days with good behavior, I’ll be out in time for the first weekend of football. And yes, I imagine that being forced to eat like a vegetarian is a lot like being incarcerated. Except for criminals can eat meat.
Day Fifteen (Monday): Back to the ole slave and grind. I had PBJ and cupcakes for Dunchfest. For those unfamiliar with the term “Dunchfest,” it’s a term generally reserved for college students, though I have been living like one since 1993 anyway. It’s what I call my one-meal-a-day meal. It combines all three meals in the title and makes it sound a lot more fun that it is. “Hey, anybody want to go to Dunchfest with me?” “Sure! Can I borrow somebody’s tent?”
Day Sixteen (Tuesday): Jen decided to try cooking again tonight. She made this rice, corn and vegetable medley that, despite how bland it may sound, tasted even blander. I mean, I could recognize the textures of the different items for the most part, but it was almost like these vegetables were scientifically grown in a taste vacuum. On the plus side, Jen once again realized she needed meat in her regular diet. Or at least flavor.
Day Seventeen (Wednesday): Pizza and fries for Dunchfest. This time was a little disappointing though, because the guy at Orioles actually finally recognized us and quoted our order to us. “Large pepperoni, large fries?” Man, we’re finally regulars and now I gotta go and fuck with the order. And for some reason, I felt an explanation to this guy was in order. Like we now shared a bond since he knew our order. He was remarkably unimpressed with my month-long attempt at vegetarianism and told me he wouldn’t give up meat for no bitch. I’m paraphrasing, but just barely. But I figured becoming a regular at Orioles Pizza & Subs wasn’t worth giving up my vege pledge.
Day Eighteen (Thursday): I was invited to a luncheon with free pizza. And there are a lot more of these free pizza luncheons on the horizon. It’s easy, cheap, and vegetarian. But I found myself back at that sports bar (Turp’s) at night. I actually ordered mozzarella sticks for the first time since my childhood. Somewhere when I was playing pee-wee football, I must have ordered so many of them that one day, I couldn’t picture consuming another single block of fried cheese. And so for about 20 years, I went without them, possibly picking one or two off a plate in that amount of time, and I’m not exaggerating. Until tonight. I ordered them, choked them down, and will probably not do it again for another 20 years.
Day Nineteen (Friday): I hate it when people don’t know how to order multiple pizzas at a function. Today was staff training day, which means more free food. Two free meals, actually. So I was naturally excited to have my thought process taken care of until sundown. But after having 2 bagels for breakfast, I was sorely disappointed at our lunch options. There were 10 pizzas ordered and rather than have 5 plain and 5 pepperoni or something else that makes sense, here’s what somebody decided was a good idea. There were 2 pepperoni, 2 sausage, 2 veggie lovers, 2 ham & pineapple and 2 white pizzas. Yeah, no shit. NO PLAIN! Now write this down and remember it wherever you go. Even people who like pepperoni will still eat plain, people who like green peppers and onion will still like plain – but people who like plain or are simply depriving themselves of certain parts of the pizza for the next couple weeks or so – they don’t always like it the other way around. And why not just get one of each and a bunch of plain pizzas? And so my only options were either a pizza with a garden on top or a pizza without sauce or flavor, but still with the gas-producing, artery-clogging cheese on it. So I had the damn white pizza and another bagel. And I’m also in charge of ordering pizza for the department now. And so I drove home and had some real Franzone’s pizza to get the white pizza taste and thought out of my head.
Also, I decided to finally weigh myself today. Something I should have probably done at the beginning of this whole process. 179 pounds. I don’t know if that’s good or bad yet, but I honestly think that it’s almost exactly what I weighed to start this diet if not exactly exactly. Hopefully I remember to weigh myself later to have something to compare it to.
Day Twenty (Saturday): So I had come up to my sister’s place to help my brother-in-law move. I was supposed to be “the muscle.” Well, I had some oatmeal and vegetarian stromboli for breakfast and lunch. I then proceeded to carry a bunch of heavy and heavier boxes down the stairs, across the street, and back up other stairs. After under an hour, my knees started to shake. I became lightheaded, and though I didn’t necessarily pass out, I definitely lost my vision temporarily during one of the trips down the stairs. And then came another moment I’m familiar with. The internal “Why am I doing this” conversation. My original goal was to make it a whole month without meat. And even that’s a lie. It was 6 weeks originally. And then after a series of compromises, reevaluations of goals and a couple dizzy spells doing something a 5-yr old girl could have done, I decided that this would be the end or at least the most recent in a long list of compromises in this project. Brad’s 30th birthday party was a cookout at his place and after a 2-hour drive (which came after a 2-hour nap), I feasted on pit beef, pulled pork, barbeque chicken and sushi. And I loved it. I didn’t think about the implications of cheating on the diet without Jen until later, when I was sleeping in the bathtub.
Day Twenty-one (Sunday): So now I was faced with the decision on whether or not I should even continue. I had already fallen – nay, leaped willingly and regretlessly – off the wagon yesterday evening. But I decided to get back on the wagon and just make a planned stop every Saturday during this project to hop off the wagon, eat some meat, and hop back on. Like I mentioned before, I’m not doing this to impress anybody or even for my health. I write the rules, and this is what they are. For now. Subject to change. And I picked Saturday because I figured my Sunday morning football league is as high risk for collapsing as there is for a malnourished carnivore. And thus I went back to my diet of penne and feta cheese at Noodles & Co.