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The Longest Now

True Confessions of a Hungry Mind
Thursday July 07th 2005, 6:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, that’s quite enough contemplation and open mourning. If your
last name ends in A-G, I’ve already gotten to you. The site
colour will be back to nourmal soon, once I finish a few pressing
duties for the Wikimania Programme.

Let me take a break from meta-communication for a moment; I have something to confess. I am a binge eater. Not what you first think of when you imagine “binging” — there is no purging involved; and minimal compulsion
but I will eat staggering quantities of food at a time. When I am
deeply involved with some project or invention, or doing many things at
once, I sometimes actively avoid eating. It isn’t so much a
matter of forgetting; the first few regular meals that pass by are
certainly noticed. But eating is a very direct and physical
distraction. It is much harder to control one’s own sleep schedule
on a full stomach, and the simple process of choosing, making, and
cleaning up a meal is a good half-hour’s interruption. And after
ten years, I am still astonished at how much clearer, faster, and
deeper free-association is on a long-empty stomach.

This morning for instance, after three days of subsiding on the
occasional piece of chocolate (here I would refer to the longevity
recommendations of a famous pair of nonagenarian sisters from the US, but cannot find their fifteen minutes of fame; the Fortean Times suggests “avoid alcohol, eat good vegetables, and never, never get married to no skinny woman” — thus Jackson Pollard, 124, from their Amazing Lives and Astonishing Deaths),
I polished off a two-pound lasagna, two pounds of vegetables, three
small pots of yoghurt and a few cans of soda. Plus the last
quarter pound of chocolate.

This wasn’t the limit of my appetite, mind you; it’s
just what was at hand. As I write this, having easily doubled the
rest of the week’s food intake before breakfast, I am
rather longing for a
juicy yam or three.

~ ~ ~

Reflecting on this, am reminded of the endless meals of distant times and places… and of That French Restaurant in Lake Placid,
at the back of a blues club, with the inevitable classical piano player
and, for those so inclined, a proper five-course meal, where by proper
I mean “incomparably filling.” A full meal there might run
to three hours, 8000 Calories and a two-notch loosening of the
belt. My father raised me on meals like that once in a blue moon,
so perhaps that’s where I picked up the habit. For years I made sure
when dining (and ordering) not to leave any food left over.

Alas, I have not quite maintained my former standards. Not two weeks ago I was at the South Street Diner with J #1, and we both got their mixed grill (fantastic),
well over a pound of grilled meat and fish, with a couple of
sides. It was with a guilty conscience I handed over my last few
bites at the end of the meal.

Update: Six hours later, I am definitely hungry for a full lunch.

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