It's been a strange year, mostly for electoral reasons we won't get too far into right now because I am so sick of thinking about HIM. But one of the most telling aspects of the strange and outrageous year has been the toll it has taken on my waistline, and arms and ... yeah ... like everywhere.
Since November, there's been an inordinate amount of time spent on the computer, in front of the TV, on the phone looking at Facebook and Twitter -- all in an effort to try and be there for the exact moment when the news breaks that everything that's happened and happening is going to stop, so we can return to a normal country, or at least not a country run by a nutcase authoritarian with a real knack for lying and gas-lighting millions of people.
Anyway, about the eating -- otherwise known as binge snacking from 7 p.m. until 9:22 p.m --which has accompanied the post-election nightmare: The biggest problem has been potato chips. It appears that watching cable news during this strange year has accelerated and exaggerated the body's need for Cape Cod low-fat potato chips, or Utz's Dark Russet Chips, with an occasional bag (or 99 bags) of Lay's low-fat Ruffles.
When those items have found themselves eaten out of house and home, we have been known to resort to Cheeto's (!!!!) "All Natural" Cheese Puffs, or Pirate Booty, or Cheez Its or a big bin of homemade popcorn smothered in salt and nutritional yeast. (Have you tried it? Until you do, do not scoff.)
Sometimes, when those preferential snack items are out of stock in the kitchen cabinets, we've had to resort to Special Dark Pretzels, or Everything Snack Factory Pretzels or that giant bag of Pita Chips.
And then, when the chips were really down, we could always rely on saltine crackers or Virginia peanuts, since they are staples in the house. And as if all of that wasn't bad enough, and since we've abandoned diet soda because it is going to kill us, all of that salt and garbage was generally washed down with a few million gin & tonics, or a nice Woodford Reserve, or, in really desperate times, straight rubbing alcohol.
Which brings me to the picture above: The Dry-Mixed Sweets that mysteriously appeared in my refrigerator. Just as I have launched a new crusade to go snack free -- or at least limit access and intake to salty or sweet or overly caloric items in an attempt to regain any resemblance of self control, I find that somehow my mother must have bought us a pack of Indian pastries when she took out kid out for lunch when I was out of town. Now they are sitting on the counter. They are a very colorful and alluring set of sweets, all the more enticing because these goodies remind me of being in India, and the exotic flavors and spices of that cuisine. Eating this kind of treat can be justified as not about calories, but as a gastro-transportational method of being somewhere else. Not Proustian. But maybe a little more justifiable than ... potato chips.
I took two small bites. India. Other countries. A big world. So much bigger than one can comprehend. Bigger than ... HIM. I gave the dog a little crumble, then put the treats back in the fridge. It was a nice interlude.
I used to write politics, news and sports for newspapers in cities like Albany NY, Seattle, Baltimore and Harrisburg PA. Now I take a lot of Instagram photos, check Facebook, swim, read about T$$$p and cook dinner for people I really like. New York native, living in Port Washington and Greenfield Center (that's near Saratoga Springs FYI).