Gardening

The motion

For about the past 35 years, I have avoided eating at tables as much as possible.

When I was a child, eating at a table meant I was either alone, painfully conscious of what a terrible hindrance and a distraction to my world- and life-saving parents (my father flew for SAC, my mother a medical student and later/ currently a doctor) and how much easier life was for them when I was not around. When there were people there, the table was an arena for criticism and shame. They did it out of love, of course, and they weren't to know that my lack of fine motor coordination and resulting messiness were not because because I found it gratifying and fun (really, Mom? Fun to spill delicious and scalding food all over you? Remind me never to let you see Leonard, Part 6) but because of severe dyspraxia, that my obesity was the result of a war-surplus thyroid gland with a bad transmission, and my inability to get along with my stepfather had as much to do with him as with me.

My first husband was not an eater-at-tables. I think his mother wasn't, either; she always had a table, but it was always covered with paperwork or projects, and the only times I remember seeing anyone eating there were holiday dinners and protracted gaming sessions.

When I went to college, I discovered the joy of service. What bliss, to be flying back and forth, to be wanted, to be helpful, to have people happy to see you because whatever you were carrying was sure to be delicious! We had this tradition of "commie meals;" you could cook for the whole school, and they'd reimburse you, and oh, my, that was just the most wonderful thing I'd ever felt. My feet thudding on the flagstones as I brought platter after platter of waffles to hungry stoners and swooned with the delightful, dramatic "pressure" of being a red-faced, spoon-thwacking cook felt like I was standing on the pulse point of the goddess.

I am ashamed to say it, but I think one of the reasons I glommed so hard onto my poor victim's poor family was because they were the first to make me feel truly welcome at a table. I honestly don't think I've felt like that before or since. Maybe in Ann Arbor, at first? But we didn't eat together much. I wish I had taken more of those opportunities. They were all the coolest. Maybe things would have been different if I had been more available to the people who were physically present and who cared about me, instead of prostrating myself upon the altar of lost things.

Maybe not.

So I avoided the new table at first. But the other night, I had a real, honest-Injun, sit-down meal, and wow. Did it feel good.