The worst part about eliminating something is the empty space left behind, especially when the void was created by removing something formerly enjoyed. For me that ‘something’ was getting home from work and indulging in my own private ‘happy hour’. An icy cold martini and something to accompany it, because just as Hawkeye Pierce from the TV version of Mash said so eloquently, “What’s a drink without a nosh?”. Not only does a good drink have the ability to lessen your resolve when it comes to trying to drop a few pounds, it also stimulates your appetite, so dinner was consumed with gusto. As was dessert.
A couple of hours later, my husband and I head down to the pub in our lower level to watch some pre-recorded shows on the big screen. The place is a cache of snack food items because when we entertain down there, we like to have an array of things for our guests to choose from. Assorted chips, crackers, pop corn, and candy can be found without having to look real hard so you can find yourself wrist deep in a bowl of chocolate covered raisins and never miss a single close encounter with a “River Monster” or search for “Big Foot”. Of course, we also record anything remotely having to do with real pit smoked barbecue, or shows that feature a squad of chefs in search of the perfect food item. This inspires a sudden urge for a rack of ribs. Satisfying that takes a bit more preparation than ripping into a bag of ‘Cheezy Poofs” or we’d be firing up the smoker. I salivate empathically while Wolfgang Puck chomps down on a pistachio macaron, and Wolfy and I create a tandem chorus of ‘mmm-ing’ noises.
Glass empty, I duck behind the bar and toss more gin, icy and syrupy from the freezer, into the shaker with a thimble full of dry vermouth. I harpoon an olive or two, a pickled mushroom, and a ‘pub’ onion with a wooden skewer and artistically drape three spears of marinated asparagus over the rim of the vat sized martini glass and add the skewer of ‘veggies’. There, now it magickally transforms from a ‘drink’ into a ‘salad’.
Somewhere between my excavation of some sort of crumbs in the bottom of an empty bag and the downing of drink number two, I am beginning to crash. My husband asks if I’m asleep. “No, I always watch the scary parts of this show through my eyelids”. Since I get up at ‘obscene o’ clock’…(2:50 yes, AM) and work out from 3:30 until 4:00 (yes, AM) eat breakfast, do my daily tarot card spread, and make myself ‘world ready’ to be to work by 6:00 AM, doing a face plant into the arm of the sofa at 7:30 PM is not unreasonable.
Unfortunately, I am too full of food that could easily pass for Styrofoam packing peanuts used to ship fragile items globally, and alcohol, to doze off once I get into a prone position. My stomach bulges uncomfortably which entices one of the Cats to pounce on it. I flip-flop more than most politicians, but trying to find my ‘sweet spot’ takes some maneuvering. However, after some time passes and an undetermined number of antacids have been consumed, I get to sleep.
A few hours later, I wake up so dehydrated that I find sand in my pajamas. Guzzling water like a Wildebeest at the last remaining puddle in Africa makes me uncomfortably full again. By now, I am wondering why I have allowed this to become a ‘habit’. You’d think that after the first time, something would click in my brain that would have derailed this train wreck behavior as soon as it left the station.
So, I have to trace back to the mind-set that made me a prime target for ‘the trigger’. I have discovered that if the mind-set is directed else where, ‘the trigger’ delivers a blank. However, there’s the void to contend with. I need to fill that with something that gives me as much or more pleasure than the old pattern delivered.
This was successful when I broke it down into components. Instead of eliminating ‘happy hour’, I simply restructured it. I made myself a tasty concoction of V8, carrot juice and a lemon slice garnish…yes, I know a double shot of chilled cucumber vodka added to this would have been delightful, but past experience has taught me something,… even if it took a while and several bottles of Tanqueray to figure it out.
The ‘nosh’ is now a healthy pile of crudité and dip. I go out onto the deck in my usual ‘happy hour’ spot, so the pleasure of being out there, enjoying Nature from my little loft still provides the relaxing atmosphere I needed in the first place. Added to the mix is a book or magazine having to do with beauty or fashion which instills a feeling of ‘diva-ness’. I am loving and living this.
I’m beginning to feel in control. This is nice because it reeks of success. Being rather content from the consumption of raw vegetation, I am able to push my plate away with several bites of food left behind and dessert becomes one square of damn fine, hand painted, chili sparked dark chocolate. Since I was never actually hungry when the TV ritual began, I am not compelled to grab any snack items. This, and the accompanying second cocktail was more habitual than filling a need for something to eat and drink.
The jar of chocolate covered raisins is inches from my hand, but the addition of another Cat in my lap causes me to busy it by stroking her luxurious, long smoky hued fur instead. Both of us are soon purring.