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I work for an organization that is run by a volunteer board of directors, most of them retired women, or women who have spent their lives as community activists. They are a great group of brassy women who are just a hoot to be around.
These are ladies who LOVE to LUNCH. They have elevated lunch to its own art form, it is the central focus of their day... where to eat lunch and with whom. Every meeting, every activity without question, must be considered around the lunch question... and I am most often their intended target.
They LOVE to take me out to lunch. And it is almost always an establishment laden with avoids at every turn. Now, if there was one meal I could go without eating, it would be lunch. I often wish that I didn’t have to eat at that hour. It is a disruption to my day. But my body DOES need to eat at that hour, and meeting my body’s needs is a priority for me.
Now, I know that this is an act of kindness and generosity on their part and I do appreciate their need to indoctrinate me into the high art of lunching. But I do have difficulty meeting my own food needs within this framework and frankly I have plum run out of ideas on how to cope. They know I am on some sort of crazy diet and I did make the mistake of eating a main dish of chicken once. So now I often hear, “Well, we know you’ll eat chicken, dear” which they serve me at every opportunity. Oy! I won’t make a mistake like that again.
My usual tactic is to try to dodge the lunch hour... which is anywhere from 10:30 to 2:00 by their standards... if we have a meeting in that time frame I know I will have to deal with the Lunch Ladies, too. Sometimes I can prepare myself by eating a large breakfast and having a substantial snack mid morning and just a salad for lunch, and it is quite easy to pick out tomatoes, olives, and other avoids from a salad. But sometimes I am caught unawares by the Lunch Ladies, thinking I have dodged a bullet with an early morning meeting and, Oh no!!! It’s 10:31!! Now they are goiing to take me out for lunch!! And I am not prepared!!! Which means a salad is just not going to cut it.
The worst is when they want to treat me to a “nice” lunch and the “Oh, you MUST try the Chicken Cacciatore, it has the most excellent tomato sauce”, and I find myself struggling with meeting my own needs as best I can and, well, trying to please them. They are a bit older than me, you see, and, remind me alot of my own mother and grandmother. So I feel the need to “eat” in their presence... clean my plate, as it were, as if I was a child and not the grown woman that I am. Funny, huh. Issues with food often run deep.
So, I will keep plugging away at this one, forging ahead to find the clear space at the end. And maybe just grow up a little bit more in the process.
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