Eating is a very important process in our lives. We need it in order to sustain ourselves, first and foremost. However, there is something more. As we tie certain songs to events in our lives, there is a connection that exists with us and our meals.
Think of the imagery of the 1950’s a family sitting down to dinner, sharing the events of their day. How about the “romantic comedy” you just watched a couple of nights ago where the couple shared a romantic dinner, or the mother’s day surprise of breakfast in bed. Food and who we eat it with is a very personal passionate thing. You just don’t sit down and eat with anyone, at least you don’t plan to.
We went to an interesting eatery when we first moved to Georgia almost 20 years ago at the urging of our new neighbors (Georgia natives). This place served typical southern cuisine, the thing that was most exciting to them was the sitting down to enjoy your meal in the company of complete strangers. I thought it was a novel little idea, but wasn’t quite as excited. We were new and felt like we should get familiar with the regions traditions and customs. Well it was very uneventful, and not even in the slightest manner interesting.
I was taken back to another piece I wrote called, “All We Do Is Eat” and I realized how very personal this act of eating is. We do it so often and so mechanically that we really do not think of the intimacy involved.
When I worked in “Corporate America” in an effort to demonstrate “they” cared; there were often luncheons, celebrations, etc. where we, the employees would get together with the bosses and “break bread”. I was always the outspoken and standoffish one. I thoroughly enjoyed declining or not showing up to these functions, knowing questions would be asked, and I would have the opportunity to tell “them” exactly why I had chosen not to be a part of the function. In a way I was being completely honest, in another I was being completely mean, but at the time I did not realize how completely valid my reaction/response was to being invited to come and “make nice” with an individual in a forum that is normally reserved for people you really and truly want to be around. Later when the title change happened and I became “them” the the challenge was once again presented, for I now not only had to participate in these function I oftentimes had to plan them. Oh the hypocrisy of it all….
Today as I attempt to be a better person, I am a volunteer that works with a team that serves my community. It is a good place and a good thing we do, yet I would not be honest if I said that I feel close to any of the other members. I attributed this to my being the newer member, but as time has gone by I think there may be another reason. I do not believe that my personal feelings are important, for what we do is what is most important. The problem is now we are having a meeting in which food will be served. This will be the third meeting of this type I have been invited to. The first I did not go to at all, the second I did not eat. I have and feel the obligation to be there for this meeting, but I cannot overlook my feelings toward these people I am teamed with. Perhaps a more relevant question would be, “do I need to continue to be with a group I do not want to or feel comfortable being around”? Do I have the right to interrupt/disturb this part of a program we are all a part of because of MY personal feelings? I think maybe if I allow myself to get into this intimate setting with them maybe I will connect, but the questions remains, what if I am right, what if this vibe I feel is the vibe the are sending out. I would rather walk away than to have them send me away, but that is all about ego isn’t it.
Therefore, I will go and I will be on time, but I will not eat once again. I guess the test will be how many meetings will I go to before I feel comfortable enough to get intimate with my team members, or how long will I stubbornly work with people I may not like and who may not like me for the sake of doing something good.
Then in the midst of revisions and additions I came face to face with it; maybe I am sending a signal to my team members as well. While I am sitting here feeling ostracized, maybe I have ostracized as well. Wow, maybe I should eat.