Just Eating a Sandwich

My stomach rumbled right on cue as the clock struck noon: it was lunchtime. I was home (still in my pajamas, of course), but lunch was already ready. Since Julie was eating at the office, I had already made her sandwich (delivered in a ziplock bag) and my sandwich (sitting on a plate covered in plastic wrap). Without her company, I reached for my iPad to catch up on some Netflix while I ate.

But I paused and wondered why: why did I need to watch something? Instead, I pulled my hand back and walked over to the kitchen table to just eat my sandwich. Just to see what it would be like. No Netflix. No Kindle (though I really wanted to keep reading The Wise Man’s Fear). Just eating.

I sat down, and, before even looking at my plate, noticed that I was already slouching. Correcting that, I first reached for took a bite of carrot, but it didn’t taste like much. I sniffed it, and it didn’t smell like much either. But then again, I was still getting over a cold.

I crunched through the carrot in another four bites (it wasn’t a baby carrot, but it wasn’t a full-sized carrot, either; maybe a teenage carrot?) and moved onto the sandwich. I bit off a vertex of the triangle half, and since I only make good sandwiches, I tried to truly experience the sandwich as much as possible. However, the more I tried, the less I enjoyed.

I recognized the mayo I had smeared over, the cheese I didn’t know the name of, the mortadella with mushrooms in it, the also unusually large “baby” spinach, the tomato I still don’t really like but still put in anyways, and the grainy bread. I had made this sandwich intentionally, and it made sense, but when I tried to break down what made each ingredient good or how they worked together as a dish, I just couldn’t quite figure out what made it a good sandwich.

Then I realized I wasn’t experiencing the sandwich anymore: I was thinking about the sandwich, and that was ruining it. I stopped thinking and tried to clear my mind of these concepts: ingredients, flavor combinations, the 5 types of taste. I just focused on the actual sensory experience and taste of the sandwich. And it made me smile again.

After I finished my sandwich (which would have made a great cover photo for this blog post if I knew I was going to write it at the time), I remembered wanting to fill my mealtime with a TV show. In retrospect, it seemed like a weird thing to do: I listen to Radiolab while I’m washing dishes or watch Jimmy Fallon clips while folding laundry because the primary activity is boring, and I want to have something fun going on. However, I actually like food, so why would I want to distract myself from eating?

Maybe it was FOMO (fear of missing out) on what everyone else is watching on TV. Maybe I wanted to make progress on my “to watch” list. Maybe I was uncomfortable with the idea of eating in silence. Maybe I just have a habit of multitasking.

It was probably all of those things to some degree. I’m probably overthinking it. I’ll just eat my sandwich and enjoy it.

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