Today I felt concerned. For the past week, I felt a fair bit of hunger, really for the first time since I went on this "lifestyle change" through Weight Watchers. Yet, I felt that I had eaten more than the requisite number of points and such that my eating plan permitted.
My life changes since May did not amount to sackcloth and ashes. My current regime features turkey at BBQ restaurants where available, fewer half chickens from Boston Market for lunch, prodigious amounts of sushi and grilled fish, and far less bread, steak, enchiladas and curry than my prior life permitted. I eat a lot of things I would never have "dared" eat before--like a Zero candy bar now and then, the occasional fried meal from Long John Silver's, and on Monday, even a visit to that place where the golden arches beckon people like Sirens.
This week, though, I felt that I had gone "off the reservation". I ate the little steak they serve at the local bar association, although I did leave behind those mashed potatoes that looked like they had the entire nation of Switzerland's dairy needs mixed in among them. We buy those little "special" candy bars and mini-cookies which, because they lack sufficient fat to qualify as truly fattening, suffice to keep the fabled "points total" down. But I had eaten them in profusion. I had a Mrs. Fields' store worth of them rolling down my albatross-like gullet. I had also gone Curious George on the local banana supply. I had often and eagerly partaken of the Weight Watchers conscious "3 point cake" that a co-worker had brought in at work--a divine nectar of the angels in which ordinary cake mix is combined with a can of pumpkin, generating a cake without guilt. A piece here and there is entirely on the plan, as 3 points is but a fraction of my weighty allotment. But all good things must come to an end, as did the Broadway run of "Phantom of the Opera" (by which time I'm sure that the play had been renamed "Music of the Endless Night") or the 1,000,000 performance of "Riverdance" (which demonstrated that even gorgeous Irish women ,with incredible and appealing leg-flail clack-ability, cloy when presented in profusion--imagine how rock stars feel about such matters). I felt that I had over-indulged in the points-friendly cake.
A curious conundrum arose, although conundra benefit in stories from the fact that they are all somewhat curious or in some ways they would not be conundra. I felt that I had been hungry all weekend, and yet I felt that I had eaten far better than the law allows. You see, in Weight Watchers, the whole of the law is not "do what thou wilt", but instead, "eat x points each day, with a 35 point margin. Then earn more points by exercising". There are corollary rules far too practical to recount in full detail here, such as "eat some vegetables", "drink some milk", and "imagine that olive oil is your friend one time a day" (they really need a revamped Olive Oyl graphic, featuring some worthy celebrity other than Shelley Duvall, if they are to sell this portion of the plan to me).
So today I lived in mild dread. Not "trapped without ear plugs in a Ten Years After concert" dread, but let's say "will Mark Knopfler ever stop playing that solo during sultans of swing" dread. I had had a very successful run with the Weight Watchers folks. It's true that I liberally interpreted a few of their rules. You see, I do not keep a log of the food I have eaten. I merely keep a mental math of how many points I have eaten. I know that positive thinking and repetition reward journaling (a thing we who keep weblogs know, as participating in LiveJournal is so uniformly restorative, and free of needless worry, pointless anxiety or even self-induced tactlessly handled, charged with guilt drama). But I can phone in my affirmations sometimes. The wireless network for such things is quite good, you know. Their plan works for me. I am not good at some of the things. I am not very operatic at meetings. I do not know the inner mysteries. I will never been the Grand Hoo Hoo of WW. But it's been good--so far.
Imagine, assuming you are not one of those people prejudiced against people with weighty matters on their mind,
the sheer trepidation I felt this very afternoon, as we entered the strip center Weight Watchers center (in the same plaza as Jerry's Ice Cream, in a show of Heavenly power worthy of Ecclesiastes or Job). I had felt hungry for days, yet I felt I had gained weight through self-indulgence. It was like being that Tantalus fellow, in some ways, only without the food disappearing anywhere but in my redwing blackbird beak. I feared the Universe was no longer fair, in that it could decree I was both to be hungry and heavier. It's a bit like the song, "He ain't heavy, he's my brother", except I was my own brother (though deprived of "Peace Like a River") and I felt I was heavier.
I stood on the scales, and the scales dropped from my eyes. It turned out that I had in a single week lost
4.4 pounds. Imagine my relief. Some zillion weeks into my reform, 4 pounds is a bit too much to lose in one week. I was hungry, it turned out, because I was not eating as many things as I was supposed to eat. Apparently, the exercise I've been giving is making me hungry, a thing as natural as the fact that Bebe Neuwirth is somehow mysteriously "supposed" to be on stage rather than on TV or the fact that Bono still seems interesting now that he lives in Jurassic Park.
So the universe did not come off the hinges, leaving the door of perception ajar. It's true, of course, that I have no mystical explanation for the reason why I cannot record without distortion any of the cool sounds I gathered this morning. A new computer seems to have made such projects less easy, rather than the "more easy" that better technology and a swinging sound apparatus promised. I also am left with only the ponderings of Spinoza, Alice Bailey, and the Nature Recordists discussion group as to why my mini-disk player, acquired for a (bird) song on eBay, fails to seem to work when a mini-disk is applied to its carcass. I must get my nephew the video game solver over to play with it and pronounce its arcane mysteries of operation to me, as the Sony pdf of the manual says "plug it in and it works".
I am quite pleased, of course, to have lost 40 pounds in this farago (I have no idea what a farago is, but I think it's a word I can use in this setting, and I can only pray it has no meaning which is violent, sexual or involving embarrassing television commercials. It's like Lewis Carroll--the question is who is the master, you or the word).
I pondered mightily deleting this journal today, after an incident in which I gave one of my patented long-winded comments and then woke up the next morning to ascertain, accurately, it was precisely the wrong thing to say. But this journal is part of my life, in the same way that Anne of Green Gables is part of my life, and I could no more delete this journal than obliterate Avonlea from my consciousness. Besides, I am a big believer of abandonment rather than deletion, as the idea of an archive appeals to me. But who knows? I know for sure that I am uncertain.
I would never have figured on causing this particular dose of LJ drama, as my brushes with it in the past usually are either (a) having it visit me unannounced, like angels unawares, or (b) backing into it by imagining that I created it when I did not. But I have this "ownership society" figured out. Yes, in an ownership society, you have to own up when things are not acceptable. But then you "own up" with a reason why, which "owning up" lets you "disown" your own manifest wrongs. Then you can chide the helpless for being helpless, while avoiding admitting that you're too unable to help yourself due to being lethargic from a rich dinner.
My reasoning is simple. Blame all my sins and omissions, which I most grievously now confess, upon hunger. I have the Weight Watchers booklet to prove it. I hope you'll forgive me if I do not detail the LJ drama du jour, the memory of which is grievous unto me, and perhaps even reparable over time (or perhaps not). If hunger doesn't work, I have my fallback affirmative defense. Working until later than 8 p.m. on an exhilirating work matter made me unable to sleep Friday night. If I keep working at it, then I will soon sound like a politician or a politician's suppporters. So I will desist, and accept my own flaws and weaknesses, based on the hope of grace rather than my skills at advocacy.
It's been pointed out to me by a friend that I tend to self-denigrate in this journal, as in other aspects of my life. This is a curious notion to me, as this journal always seems remarkably self-promoting and self-congratulatory to me. But I agreed, as a penance, to write a post entitled "I am so fascinating I am going to franchise myself", Perhaps that will be good midnight or dawn posting fodder.
"The Absurd Music Exchange", my one week old yahoo group, now has eight members, which small group has begun uploading music into the "files" section which already meets and exceeds the number of "Absurd Music Watchers" points I had mentally allotted to our start-up week. My ccmixter friend from the continent known as Europe sent me cool songs to remix and ruin, another friend who knows who he is uploaded something wonderful with which to play, and I have encountered grand reactions all 'round thus far. I got good reactions to my latest remix at ccmixter and to my latest song at soundclick.com. But I will not rest until the really cool "banging on park benches cassette" I took this morning is recorded in a format which sounds more like the purity of a Carpet Musics' bit of clear electronic pop, and less like the dark industrial noise without end of, say, a Merzbow (I really should buy Merzbow if I am going to name drop them). I made an mp3 of sliced birdsong, and sent it to the creator of the song I sampled, a wonderful honey throated warbler recordist. I hope he likes it, as I will only share it with him.
I wish I could tell you "I lost weight and now I look great and my life has turned around in all ways". But I look almost the same too heavy as a bit heavy. I feel I have been sillier in human relations the past three weeks than I had in the prior ten years, although fortunately silliness in my context is largely a theoretical matter of either giving offense without sufficient worry, or worrying about giving offense without sufficient basis, resulting merely in constantly apologizing to the wrong people, and failing to adequately apologize to the right people. It's not the stuff of recrimination or stained glass or stained dress or even coffeestains on teeth, as I am a coffee near-tee-totaller.
So I'm the same as ever, but forty pounds less of the same. But do you know what I think about that? I have not eaten all my points. That's an error. I'm hungry. It's time to drown my sorrows in raisin bran or some other worthy food.
If in this post I have offended, then I retract. If I have failed to offend,then I will buy a lottery ticket, as my ship is coming in. I am getting out of the game on such matters, and returning to simple directness seasoned with words. I know what that fellow meant by "all apologies". But I still, like Rodney King, say, "can't we all get along?" and like Ms. Debbie Fields, a reportedly cute, sweet corporate leader, say "want a cookie?".