Food and People
I was at a meeting yesterday, having lunch at the restaurant Pepato in Greenbelt. The woman I was having lunch with talked about her two loves in life: food and people.
The voice inside my head wanted to laugh. My companion’s greatest loves were the things I despised, or rather feared, the most.
The art of eating, for me, is to get over it quickly as soon as possible. The greatest pleasure I derive is perhaps when I’m doing something else while having lunch, whether it’s bonding with a group of friends, reading blogs on the computer, or reading a novel or two. But eating for the sake of eating, reveling in each and every dish, is not a philosophy I subscribe to.
This could be attributed to my practicality. I want to do lots of things in life, encounter an entire gamut of experiences. But there are only twenty four hours in a day, and the phases which I think are essential but don’t contribute to experiences are three things: hygiene (whether it’s taking a bath or pissing in your toilet), sleep (you’re unconscious!), and yes, eating.
A psychologist might claim my dislike for eating can be rooted to my childhood. In a world where adults never believe their children, I told my nannies and parents that I was already full after eating a portion of the food on the table, yet they threatened punishment if I didn’t continue eating. What’s a child to do but eat even if he’s ready to throw up. And throw up I did.
A number of people would tell me whenever I have leftovers on my plate that I should be grateful that there’s food on the table, that a lot of children are growing hungry. Of course I’d like to point out that in such scenarios, I wasn’t the one who picked out what I would eat, or how much servings it would contain. When Filipinos see a bony little kid, they tend to compensate as if by feeding me much in one day, I’d suddenly grow large.
When I personally pick out the food that I eat, it’s usually in small servings. Because I know I have a small stomach. Rather than believing that food could go to waste, I believe that one should only get what one is able to consume.
As for people, alas, I’ve constantly been telling others than I’m anti-social (or as a friend put it, asocial, as to not mistake the term for a homicidal maniac). And to be honest, I’m not exactly the greatest conversationalist in the world. I’m stuck in one or two extremes: either that of the silent listener, or the guy who blurts out inappropriate things too loudly.
Some writers are great public speakers and charismatic hosts. Their way with words carry over from ink to voice. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. If I had my way, I’d be isolated from the world with nothing to do but to read and write. Well, that and the occasional night out.
More often than not, when I’m faced with someone I should talk to, I’m just there, staring at them. I let them begin the conversation, and I reply to their answers. From time to time, I’d ask questions of my own, but I don’t really elaborate or tell them stories. Common dilemmas pop up when I’m taking the cab, for example, where it’s customary to talk to the driver and appear to be interested in the driver’s life.
People are a pool of stories, I know. But short of a direct interview, I don’t seem to draw it out from them. It’s when they begin to talk about themselves that I find interesting tidbits and then when it ends, well, I’d hate to disrupt their flow.
Of course the irony of this all is that I’m in an industry where meetings and talking to people are a common occurrence. Lever let it be said that I didn’t go out of my comfort zone.