Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Things that Comfort Us – until we actually eat it

Here I sit in the Kroger parking lot, wastefully running the car’s AC while I eat a piece of Italian cream cake. Can’t help myself. For more than a week now I’ve been doing the thing that depresses me most: clothes shopping.

A fashionista I’m not. We writers tend to be a cloistered lot, after all. We hole up in isolated comfort to hack away at our craft. But when you’re preparing to face the media at the BEA (Book Expo America, you’ll remember) it behooves one to fake a little sophistication.

So I stand there in the merciless glare of overhead fluorescent lighting, my reflection wincing back at me as I try on one hopeless outfit after another. For three weeks I’ve been starving and exercising. How could I still be so much bigger than when I shopped for our cruise in 2006?

At one point I resorted to ordering from a plus size catalog. I don’t know how so many plus size companies found out I was gaining weight, but these days their catalogs strike my mailbox at the rate a three per week. So, all right, why not? Beats a department store dressing room. Well, today the first item arrived: a smartly styled summer-weight shirt jacket in a dusty pink and black print. Perfect. Except that it billowed around me like a circus tent. WHY? I measured myself carefully and ordered according to their sizing chart. And the same size at Macy’s was too tight. Sigh.

As it happens, the UPS store where I returned said garment is right next to Kroger. In a fit of pique I decided to check out their oops-we-baked-too-much discount rack in the back. I always do that when I’m down. Sure enough, an overlooked Italian cream cake, subdivided and packaged by the slice, was there to greet me. Dozens of nut chips were snuggled into the finely textured layers. Frothy cream cheese frosting generously enfolded it. Oh, yes.

On my way to check out, I stopped by the bakery department. “Do you have a small plastic taster fork?” I asked. “This has to be gone by the time I get home.” After more hilarity than it was worth, the ladies did indeed produce a little white spoon. And here I sit.

Was it worth it? Only while I was actually eating it. Because I’ve behaved myself for a protracted length of time, the toothsome delicacy is now a cloying, nauseous lump in my stomach. I’d head straight for the Pepto Bismal when I get home, but that would alert Husband to my indiscretion. Eat and learn, folks…

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