Jon and I and the little unpredictable cusser were running around town on Friday trying to get things ready for a busy weekend when all three of us experienced a simultaneous drop in blood sugar. One of our New Year’s resolutions has been to eat a better diet, including one with more green vegetables and less refined sugar, and for a few months our lunches have been nothing more than a few slices of cheese and a large green salad. At least, that’s what Jon and I have been eating. Leta? She’s been eating large bowls of air. Organic, free-range air.
A strange thing happens when any one of us experiences this drop in blood sugar: we start behaving as if the only logical thing to do is die, as if there is no other appropriate response. I don’t like it when Jon talks to me during this time because his talking only interferes with my dying, and that is totally frustrating. And please, if you are ever in my company when I am that hungry, do not offer me choices. Do not ask me if I would like a hamburger or a taco or maybe a large turkey sandwich on rye, because the decision-making sector of my brain has shut down entirely. All those words you are speaking make no sense and instead feel like the tip of a beak that is busily pecking at my cornea.
But the only way Jon knows how to cope with dying is to talk his way through it, to describe just how hungry and miserable he really is. Which is pretty much how he acts when he is sick, he gives a running commentary on the details of his pain, and that is very helpful because sometimes I forget that his stomach hurts two minutes after he has told me, and he is happy to offer a fresh reminder. I am not proud of this, but once when Jon was in bed with a headache I had had just about enough of the endless, moaning discourse and I told him that he was allowed to be sick, he just wasn’t allowed TO TALK ABOUT IT ANYMORE.
When Leta has gone long enough without eating anything she does what she normally does in any given situation and starts screaming. Which means we never know when she’s hungry because maybe she’s screaming because she looked up and discovered that the sky was blue. Certainly possible. Has happened before.
So all three of us are in the car together when we get so hungry that the idea of dying seems attractive. Leta starts screaming, Jon starts talking, and I stick my head between my legs so that I can pretend that all of this isn’t happening. And because we haven’t packed any emergency snacks we have no choice but to drive to the nearest fast food place, Taco Bell, a place I have avoided since my pregnancy, and we order one of everything off the menu including a new burrito that is filled with steak and potatoes. A steak and potato burrito. With steak. And potatoes. I have never felt more American than when I got to the end of that burrito.
Knowing that Leta wouldn’t eat anything off that menu — sure, she eats refried beans, but Taco Bell refried beans would look different than the refried beans she normally eats, and that alone would cause the skin on her face to melt off in sheets — we drove across the street to McDonald’s to get Leta an order of fries and a milkshake. Before we had even pulled up to the drive-through window, Jon and I had already eaten everything we had ordered from Taco Bell, and so we asked for that order of fries to come in as large a package as they could find. Within a couple of miles both of us had unbuttoned our pants and were burping the alphabet in French.
It was a weirdly symbolic reversal of that New Year’s resolution, like we couldn’t have chosen a more over-the-top way to thumb our noses at those delicate green salads: Taco Bell and McDonald’s in the front seat of the car. And afterward instead of feeling guilty or regretting that second fistful of French fries, we both agreed that we would look back on that delicious 10 minute period exactly as if it was some of the most spectacular sex we’ve ever had in our lives.