I'm an eater. Ask anyone who's seen me from the neck down, they'll tell you, yup, Ei's an eater. Now this is not to say I have an astounding sense of what is fabulous in cuisine, nor is it to say I even know what I like, but I eat really well. I eat when I'm sad, when I'm bored, when I'm happy...you get the picture. The one time in my life that you can tell that something is really wrong is when I'm not eating much of anything for an extended period of time. That is indeed a really serious sign. Other than physical ailments, it has happened three times in my lifetime - once was this spring.
But this tendency to want to just chew up life, gulping it down in large chewy bites is not limited to food. It is the way I consume information, relationships, even my relationship with the divine. I don't want to sample it, to savor the aromas, to feel the texture on my lips or to even admire it sitting on a plate. I want to ingest my life...infuse it into my very being. And I've realized that this has become a problem.
My weight is only a small indicator of how ineffective my approach to life has been, but certainly the most readily apparent, nagging reminder of how much I've sucked into myself without thinking, without feeling, without even enjoying. And how little I've passed up. How little I've let go. It is the ever present symbol of the baggage I tote from even my youngest days in life...dragging around thirty some odd years of impulsive cramming myself full of life, regardless of it's nutrient level or taste.
So here I am at 37 a few short weeks from 38 and finally saying "I'm stuffed...I couldn't eat another bite." In other words, to quote an old old commercial, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing."
I've never been to a vineyard. I can't say that it has ever interested me. As a whole I'm not really about drinking too much. This is not to say that I didn't go through my period of stuffing myself on the experience of drunkenness and released inhibitions and wild parties that left me feeling broken and restless. But I've never been one to really enjoy a glass of wine, a special cocktail, the best stout beer. I really didn't get it. I had a friend in Denver who had wine parties the way some people have Tupperware parties (and yes there really is a company out there that does this with fine German wines). I went to her parties, but I really didn't get it. I got myself their wonderful dessert wine and promptly drank the entire bottle by myself. If I had visited a vineyard though I quite imagine I would have stuffed myself indiscriminately on grapes while tromping through the vineyard, rather than saving myself for the wine once we entered the cellar. By the time we'd gotten to the wine, my stomach would have been protesting, telling me that wine was out of the question...it already wanted to throw up.
I really admire people who know themselves. That know their wine. I've not really been that person in my life, as much as that is something that I've wanted to consume, it was just too much waiting for an eater. Wine isn't a pluck it off the vine, or shelf, or drive through window interest. Wine takes patience and education, and a very clear sense of self, meaning, knowing the difference between what makes a wine good to the world and what makes a wine your own special taste. I haven't had that kind of time to invest in wine. I haven't made that kind of time.
Now before Christie gets on my tail about aspiring to be a lush, let's be clear that this is my metaphor for the day. I've decided that I need to slow down and witness more and ingest less. That I need to smell some fruit that I will never taste, and marvel at the artistry of a cream puff that will never end up in the seat of my jeans. I need to pluck some grapes and make some wine. And when the wine is finally ready, I will savor it...because it is mine and it belongs completely to me. And hopefully, by the time it is complete, I will have plenty of room in the seat of my jeans for it too. Because I'm tired of hauling around an entire lifetime of impulsiveness like Marley hauled the chains of his life. It's heavy, and burdensome and unattractive.
I've decided that I'm not looking for another love to consume (or who will consume me). If I ever love again it will be because the perfect blend of fruit is delivered, by happenstance, into my open hands. It will be because that fruit ferments perfectly and is tended with caring skilled hands. And when it is consumed, I will experience it with every sense I have available to me. And if I never have the chance to make that perfect bottle of wine, I will die happy at spending the rest of my life cultivating the skills to do it anyway, rather than gorging myself on grapes.
However...I may still indulge in a handful of grapes now and then. Man cannot live on wine alone.