Eating is a social act as much as it is a biological act. While it is possible to eat alone, people usually prefer eating with company. It is usually during this time that people bond with each other. That’s why there are usually family dinners. Or why students share a table at the school cafeteria. Or even why coworkers invite you to eat out with them. Not joining them usually ostracizes you from the group. I’m speaking from personal experience. Because I’m a deviant, and people usually don’t see me eat, at least not in public.
That’s not to say that I don’t eat at all. That would be impossible. I’m not an orchid that directly converts light to energy. Nor am I a vampire that doesn’t feel physical hunger. I am, however, a person with a small body, and I do need less quantities of food than the average person. I have proven in the past that gorging myself in food would only lead me to involuntarily vomit it. So pacing myself is quite important.
That only partially answers why people don’t see me eat, however. One good motivation for me not to eat out is that it costs money. Given that I am working with a finite budget, I try to save money as possible for those other tangible stuff that’s still there once you’re done using it (food, while it is tangible, is gone once you’ve eaten it… the only proof that you ate is either the food that you vomit, or whatever you shit). Since I don’t want to spend money, I usually eat at home, where my parents spend for the food. And because one third of my life is spent at home at the very least, I do make it a point to eat at home rather than eat outside. And since I have control over my appetites, I can schedule my eating habits so that I eat before I leave the house, and eat again once I return.
Food is important. And while we can’t live without food, skipping a meal won’t kill us (skipping several meals will do though). This is usually the discipline I invoke when I’m at a restaurant. Because restaurants are really expensive, and I have to ask myself whether I can afford to spend now or not. If it’s the latter, I can always eat at home. All I have to do is wait for everyone else to finish their food, and then I can go home and actually eat.
Another hindrance for me to eat in public is the fact that I have braces. Food do get stuck between my teeth, and getting rid of them involves more than toothpicks. And it really is a bit of a hassle to go to the bathroom every once in awhile just to clean your teeth. So I avoid all of that by simply eating at home, where I can go to my bathroom at leisure and perform all my sanitary precautions there.
Having said all that, I am aware that this is my habit and not everyone else’s. So I do accompany my friends when they eat out. I just don’t eat, and usually stare at them (because I’ll look like a hungry person if I stare at their food). I’ll even treat people out for lunch or dinner, because as I said, they don’t necessarily follow my diet (and while I don’t have a budget for feeding myself, I do have a budget for treating my friends out, and I’m capable of doing so in the first place because I save a lot of money by not eating).
Since it also comes down to a money problem, I’ll usually eat if somebody treats me out. Of course I don’t want to take advantage of people, so I’ll usually decline at first. And if the person is the type that treats people out often, then I’ll surely decline, because I don’t want to perpetually benefit from another person’s constant expenditure (and as someone who treats other people out, I do know how the bills eventually pile up).
Am I a normal person? No, I’m a weird, underweight kid. Do I eat? I’m still human and alive aren’t I? And besides, time spent not chewing food is time spent to listening what other people have to say, especially at the dinner table.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
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