Wednesday, August 11, 2010

is she binging?

Are you binging, lady in front of me on line at the Dunkin' Donuts?

As she steps up to order, something looks familiar to me. is it the way she orders so slowly and specifically -- the grilled sandwich, extra cheese and mayo, no make that two. well, three. but no ham on that third one, because, of course, it's for a DIFFERENT person (when i lived in nyc, i'd often order in my binge foods, often from several different places at once. . i'd pretend to ask MULTIPLE other people what they wanted, so the huge order would appear to serve many. i'd cringe when i saw they'd sent four forks or several fortune cookies or lots and lots of cole slaw.) or the way she sways from foot to foot, staring at the donuts, head moving - left to right to left?

i study her body -- she's tall and broad, thin on top and wide through the bottom. how does she feel about her weight as she asks for one crueller. and then a chocolate glazed, and then stops. "anything else", asks the cashier, as he starts to ring her order. "no wait," she says "add a plain bagel and, and butter on the bagel and, and an old fashioned".

"is that all", the clearly impatient cashier asks, as the line builds behind us.

she stares and waits and looks back and forth, left to right to left to right to left. her hands shake. "yes", i guess that's all", she sighs.

a second cashier heads to the front to help with the growing line. as i head to that register, i see the woman has left her keys behind, reminding me of the distraction of the call to gorge. i often left something at my corner store on the way to a binge -- my wallet, my keys -- so focused was i on getting to my carbs, sweets, salties, butter...

her keys in my hands, i go after her. "Miss, miss == your keys", i call several times. she doesn't hear -- she's staring into her bags - until i get to her car and hand them to her.

"do you want to talk?", i almost say. but don't. i walk away. perhaps she WAS just buying food for her family or snacks for friends.

still, i wonder.


  1. I was in line at CVS.

    A college girl and her roommate ("I'll pay for the mouthwash and dish soap if you get the t.p.") walked up behind me.

    Long, thick beautiful hair and lovely caramel skin.

    "....Yeah, I was really messed up. But look at me now." (sweeping gesture with her left hand along the side of her body.) "You'd never know. But that's hard too, sometimes. I mean, it's been a long time - 10th grade - but, I mean, I was skinny, dude. I was skinny. But, I mean, I was toned too, since I was kind of a girl jock."

    Her friend listened. Nodded. Not her first exposure to this girls past? Not only compassion, but experience on her face?

    The girl continued:

    "I mean. Sometimes....I just. Man." (Laughs)

    I turned around, my body was buzzing with nervous energy and the anticipatory shame of intruding. Of being vulnerable? But I looked her right in the eyes and said, "Don't....don't go back to that."

    Her friend turned to focus on me now.

    The girl said, "What?"

    I said, "Don't....don't think about going back to that. Sometimes. Please don't. You know now. Sorry, I didn't want to....well. I did listen and I couldn't not say that."

    The girl nodded.

    The line moved up.

    I checked out, and left.

    But sometimes, I don't say anything.

    Sometimes, I just don't.

  2. I often wonder if the people at the grocery story I always go to to get my binge food know .....

    it's a scary scary thought.

  3. I would hit two or three fast food places and then eat in the car, and then do the supermarket for ice cream. Ahh great now I'm thinking about that. And I've been craving the chinese bufette so much. I'm really fighting with that one. I hate the bing urges. I can see the tables in my mind and almost taste the food. Heck I can picture myself going to each of my favorite foods, again, again, again, pain, hurt, pain.

  4. Wow. This is a real education. Those of us without food issues would never imagine this. Not that don't have issues of my own--ha! Plenty...