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Old Business

Sometimes, and this usually happens only in the checkout line at the supermarket, a stranger will ask me if I'm a vegan, and I will tell them yes. When I'm talking to people I do know -- and this happens less frequently, believe it or not -- I usually say that I'm on a "plant-based diet." That's because the term "vegan" has some political meanings that have nothing to do with why I eat what I eat. If you check out my shoes and belt, you'll know that. Just because I don't eat animals doesn't mean I won't wear them. I won't go quite as far as Lady Gaga, but there you are.

By the way, when I tell people in the checkout line that I'm a vegan, they'll sometimes say something like this: "I tried that for a while, but it was too hard. I felt a lot better when I was doing it, though." Which is exactly why I keep doing it myself. It's hard at a dinner party or a restaurant, but it gets a lot easier when you can feel the results. And when it does get too hard, I cheat, but only rarely and only a little. It's not a religion, after all, and I'm not a fanatic.

What this lifestyle choice does require, at least in my case, is a strict eating agenda. Two of the reasons that's easy for me are that (a) I live alone, and (2) I thrive on routine. I think I've established that here. The more predictable my day is, the more comfortable I am. "New business" isn't part of my agenda, unless it's brought up by someone else. Even then, I call for summary adjournment. Reading the minutes at the next meeting doesn't take very long that way.

Okay, I've gone way too far with that metaphor.

Anyway, what brings this up is that my senses seem be getting duller as I get older. (Some of them, anyway.) And I'm specifically talking about my sixth sense, the sense of hunger. (That's what that means, right?) More and more often it will happen, as it did today, that it gets to be 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon and I'll realize that I forgot to eat lunch.

Since my eating regimen is so strictly controlled, this throws my whole day out of whack. On most days, I eat almost exactly the same thing at almost exactly the same times, but when the hunger hits me so late, I have to satisfy it. It might be dull, but it packs a wallop, and if I don't feed it, it tends to play with my head. So I'll go with something I don't ordinarily need, like a giant noodle bowl or a packaged rice dish. Lots more carbs than my body gets on a normal day.


When I forget to eat lunch it's nearly always because I'm working on something that I can't get away from. That sounds like another side of my obsessive personality, but it's really a holdover from my days in retail. If there's a customer in the store, I have to help them before I can eat. That's also how I got into the habit of eating fast, even when I'm in a restaurant (and it's probably why I don't go out much). Those old habits stick with me. Even though I know it's happening, I can't let go. I do what I do because it's what I've always done. So . . . any new business? (I didn't think so.)

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