To eat or not to eat

I haven’t been able to use my kitchen in recent weeks and have been visiting local cafes and restaurants. My favorite and most eventful visits are to New Seasons grocery in North Portland. They have a wonderful little seating area in the back where you’ll find the hot water faucet scalding and the AC quite frigid. Today I filled my water glass with hot water, as I always do, because I’m thoroughly convinced that it helps me digest. On my way back to my seat I spied a gentleman so engrossed in his devices that he failed every attempt he made to stab the potato wedge on his plate. “Sir, please don’t break the plate”, I wanted to say. After counting five attempts I smiled and continued walking back to my chair. I’ll never know if his dire hunger finally tore him away from the distractions, allowing him to finish his brunch.

A couple weeks ago, sitting in this very seat facing the bowling alley across the street, sat an older man. He appeared to be homeless, soiled bag, boots, and hands. My daughter and I sat just two chairs aways and I couldn’t help but stare. He was meddling with a plastic bag. I watched him pull out a huge white onion. I sat in awe as he palmed the vegetable and fit as much of the sphere as he could in his mouth. The delightful crunch it made didn’t calm the churning in my stomach as I watched. Crunch. Again and again! I sat fascinated, avoiding his gaze, wondering why my daughter wasn’t reacting to this turn of events. His whole world was in that onion, it was the only task he needed to perform. He savored every bite, and drank water periodically to ease the sting.

It clicked. Today before I brought food to my table I stashed my laptop, mouse, and phone. Only my food and a small flower existed in my space.

I’d much rather eat a raw onion than lack the realization that I ate at all.