Is this politically incorrect? I don’t really mean to offend myself because I eat nuggets and fries outside of the rules. Call it an affliction, or addiction, but I can’t shovel enough of them into my stomach pit. No hour of the day is left idle. I’ve got a skill. I can make hunger suit me. Five in the morning and its breakfast, late afternoon, and call it lunch, in the evening after the TV news, and make it dinner. And that’s when I’m not feeling guilty. To bring the guilt in I’ve been adding some frozen greens to make guilt feel OK. Got to camouflage the camouflage. Got to show the world I’m with it all the way. But I’ll need to make a call to freedom and check if this is OK. Somebody might not like what I’m doing. Right now I’m doing some downtime on the floor beside my sweaty bed. It’s been too hot to get out, even though my stomach’s grumbling like an Amish food processor.
The fridge is nearly empty and there’s a supermarket freezer to catch up with now that its summer, and a car parking space is waiting for me. By the way what do they do, car parks? Why they let me in, and they let me out, and in between my tartan splashed car occupies a space of bitumen which someone else just had and now I’m there, and if I’m delirious while I shop the space will forever be mine; and I’ll shop just like everybody; and I’ll spend the necessary time at the freezer checking out the frozen nuggets and fries, looking closely at their chemical compositions, and deciding which brand of nuclear victuals is gonna suit my ambiguous constitution which often leaves little for the potty even after a hearty lounge room feast; but then again I’ll leave that for the ‘morrow to find out what was missing which the day before had given up on.
There’s nothing in it for me should I feel sad about the way nuggets and me connect. They live a happy death while I die a happy life. I reckon they’re hot vat reared, and their days in there are always sunny with all those bright lights and whizzing sounds which also keeps the nugget machines happy. The best machines are the ones alert for the next nugget to pop up ready to be squared off. Then they cover the nuggets in crusty clothing and the happy nuggets are soon snuggling with other nuggets in a nice clean basket: and the weather in the factory is always good isn’t it? But nuggets aren’t complete nuggets unless the fries are quiet and joyful, and ready for my mouth cave filled with yellow teeth and saliva to gobble them. Sometimes they go down my gullet like bear broken twigs passing through a beaver’s dam. I don’t chew very well. Sometimes they get stuck in my throat and I choose a wrecking ball type nugget to do the shifting. It’s a good thing I can wash them down with a bit of cheerful fizzy. I like getting with the nuggets and fries in the supermarket’s freezer but I don’t like taking them out of their plastic pouches when there are strangers around.
There’s a clichéd guide in my head telling me to act out my life as though it is inspired by affliction; to intensify the feeling through a good bout of laziness and gratification. The guide tells me it’s got to go way beyond my tape worm conscience. I hear in my head discussions over the qualities of nuggets and fries which excite my crazed synapses and over-folding slabs of grey jelly. I read psychology, and I know how excited I am, because when I go downtown I sometimes see nuggets and fries in cars, and sometimes I see them sparkling like stars in the sky. Nuggets and their delicious associates, the fries, should be free to act upon me anyway I see fit, and in the nicest possible way, and at my responsible time of choosing. The micro-waved nuggets and fries which lie loquacious on my cardboard dinner plate are specially made to gazump my working guts, and to be honest, I like the feeling. But sometimes I’ve admonished myself for the arrogance I display for not listening to the correcting conscience of healthy otherwise expert people who talk in their expert language about what is the correct food to eat. They who talk to me from the roof top of their institutions; who look down on me and who do not see me, but instead look at me as a number analysed and modelled; and they turn their research results into reports and kick them along academic corridors in canned kudos. I have decided not to listen to any critical voices except my own.
It is correct to love the guilt of consuming nuggets and fries while I accept their conforming messages? The confident supermarket says it’s alright to shop there on the hours and days it says so. And there’s always a welcoming car parking space for me the ready consumer to buy from it nuggets and fries with mother’s cash or welfare vouchers, and the frozen greens when I have to. I mustn’t fret when customer service needs me. By all means the supermarket says: put what I buy into reusable plastic bags to save the planet and take them home and consume them at my leisure, preferably before their use by date. It’s all about supermarket satisfaction and the way I am satisfied, and what ought to please me when I am ready and willing to be pleased. This should be what I’m thinking when I’m perusing the supermarket freezers for my desired. In the supermarket I consider myself a responsible and enlightened person who gathers my food this way; for then I am free to gratify my hunger for nuggets and fries.
But I fear there are times I might weaken and eat out; using the reasoning that it’s an easier get. Just pay and wait. No buttons to press. I might tell myself supermarkets are too much of a trial. Too many queues. Too many talking machines. And if I do I might have to confess betrayal to myself. I might need to pray to myself that I don’t weaken and do less of this and more eating out. But if I do more of that I might beat myself up over it. If I beat myself up too much and I panic, I might see someone who is more religious than me, who will tell me I am possessed by a spiritual malaise. But deep down I know that answer won’t satisfy me because I’m really a closet atheist. So then I might go and see someone who is more intuitive than me; who can tell me it’s nothing more than psychological. I haven’t got that far yet because after I’ve been supermarket shopping and I’ve been on the couch stuffing my face I’ve forgotten what it was I should be worrying about. And by that time my car is parked safe in my driveway. It is a faithful car: always ready for me to tell it what to do when I insert my key into its ignition. And besides, the ignition is getting really sluggish lately, and anyway the supermarket is closer than the shrinks.
In my darker moments I ask myself what benefit is there from living on micro-waved nuggets and fries, because I’m beginning to frighten my moggie cat and my chirpy budgerigars. And when my mom and dad come to the front door to give me money I don’t know if I can bear to open it. Shutting out my parents is nearly as easy as shutting out the world and social media. There’s a dull light in my head which throbs sometimes, and when my head is like this I don’t recognise myself as the person who expects to be positive, one which Norman Vincent Peale would be proud of. I wish I could cover my body with lots of eyes, inside and out, so I can see what I’m doing. I’d like my fingers to have eyes when I show my lips the nuggets and fries. And I’d like the inside of my mouth to have eyes so I can see them being mashed up in my mouth; and I can watch from the back of my coated tongue the mush safely go down my gullet into my stomach. I’d like to make the experience of eating feel like I am doing something good for myself. When I lick my wet fingers I’d like to see the substances go around my mouth the same way crude oil goes gushing into steel barrels, and maybe I’d feel extra good like those old Texas oilmen, corpulent and rich, sitting on their verandas surrounded by family.
Even though the supermarket freezer’s high glass doors quietly says don’t spend too much time choosing something when they are open because the cold will get out, I can’t let the steel in my belly weaken, because it is in these precious moments that I am best able to ice my commitment to the supermarket, ha ha. I tell myself that I who choose nuggets and fries value them as a great irony, and my ego dismisses disapproving shoppers eyeing me off. And indeed my great friend my ego will never forsake me and leave me. My craving life is like a piddling stream beginning just below the Himalayas which becomes, after picking up the world’s debris, the raging Ganges River teeming with all the rich life a world need receive. These shoppers next to me extracting packets of frozen peas should get it that I am a poet. I should let them know that I can’t do everything but I can do something, and it is not necessary that what I do is right or wrong. And mostly I try to stay aloof from people judging me when I am filling my shopping trolley with packets of frozen nuggets and fries. I need not care about their judgments since the frozen peas they buy don’t last very long.
When I do give in to my need to be disloyal to the supermarket, and I eat out, I prefer a family restaurant because my disloyalty is really saying that I have lost perspective on good nuggets and fries eating, and a family restaurant shows me the way. And when I eat out, I get to see other people eating the same food in the same way I eat, and I remember why I like it to eat it, and it’s because everything is familiar to me. It’s the aromatic smells, the plastic tables and chairs, the children’s play areas, the simple menus above the checkout registers, the pleasant atmosphere; and it’s the respectable way people eat and discard their leftovers in trap door bins, all of which I imagine when I am eating at home. The whole experience is so nice. In a family restaurant I get the same feeling as home. The heat in the served nuggets and fries is a bit different that’s all. I shouldn’t be troubled by remorse or guilt because the service standards at a family restaurant are exactly the same. Eating occasionally at a family restaurant gives me strength to carry on with the way I like to feed myself. It’s liberating really. And of course in a family restaurant I don’t feel so alone.