11 January 2008

Shopping With Wally

It seems I've developed a bit of an eating disorder, in that I find it extremely difficult to pass a donut shop or a pizzeria without wanting to go in and devour its entire contents.

Oh, and ice cream, too. The first time I purchased a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream and ate the whole thing in one sitting (and not a very long sitting at that), I felt a bit ashamed, not least because of the name; if I'd had to ask the storekeeper for it by name, I probably never would have got started eating it. But after it became a several-times-a-week habit the shame gave way to a bloated, sluggish, headachey, almost hungover feeling.

I'd wake up the next morning and say, "Well, I'm definitely not going to do THAT again," and my resolve would last until... well, sometimes a day or two, sometime only until that evening. I seem to recall having gone through much the same thing with cocaine, albeit at considerably expense, a few decades ago.

Speaking of which, I've taken on a new writing gig for a semi-local magazine called Verbicide, and my first column is due almost immediately. Racking my brain for what to write about, I hit upon the resurgence of cocaine use that's allegedly taking place right under my - pardon the expression - here in my beloved Brooklyn.

To be quite honest, the last time I actually saw any cocaine was in 1985, and even that was late enough in the day to be pretty tacky, as coke had lost all its underground cachet by the mid-70s and was more mainstream than disco by the time Ronald Reagan took office. But lately my normally quiet downstairs neighbors have taken to "partying" rather loudly at some unusual hours (5:30 am?) and I suspect some stimuli other than alcohol or hormonal hyperactivity might be involved.

Anyway, stop me now before I publish my whole projected column right here; I only meant to ask you if you thought it was a good topic. Answers by email or in the comments section, please, and now back to my lovely eating disorder...

So, about a week ago I decided I'd better do something about this. I've always had a rather high metabolism, and most people think of me as skinny, but I've gained 20 pounds in the past year or two, and as much as I'd like to think it was all new muscle gained from my semi-regular gym workouts, I don't think the "muscles" that accumulate mainly around the stomach are the sort I'd like to cultivate.

So, donuts, pizza and ice cream are out, and a number of other things that I was eating more for comfort and pleasure than any nutritional need. Actually, I'm staying away from sugar in general, which means no more of my recently discovered Starbucks white mocha decaf cappuccinos, either. Instead, I've returned to cooking simpler, healthier meals at home, and to that end I was picking up a few items in one of those unbearably twee (and unbearably expensive) West Village shops (hey, it was near the subway) when I noticed a short, bald, older man standing at my elbow.

Well, he was at the level my elbow would be if I were scratching my head, but let's just agree that he was short. He had just finished picking up his order from the butcher counter started whispering and giggling like schoolgirls. This seemed especially implausible because they were both big, strapping fellows and, for want of a better adjective, very butchery.

Finally one of them pointed to the other and said to the not-so-tall man, "He wants to know your name." This seemed even more unlikely. Were they engaging in some mock flirtation to buck up the older gentleman's spirits?

"It's Wally Shawn," he answered, which sounded familiar, very familiar, and then I remembered My Dinner With Andre and about a dozen other movies and realized that the giddy butchers were merely starstruck. Then, while waiting in the queue, er, I mean on line behind Mr. Shawn, I watched a much taller man walk in and say, "Hi, Wally."

No, it wasn't Andre, but I'm almost certain it was somebody from one of those Woody Allen movies that they'd both starred in. It'll come to me one of these days, probably when I'm flipping channels on the TV and I see them both together onscreen. I waited for them to something funny or dramatic or insightful, but they just exchanged greetings and mumbled niceties while I paid for my own groceries. Then Wally caught a cab uptown and I took the subway home.


amy said...

People often overlook food as an addiction or drug but it really can be. I hate to even say it because I feel lame but seriously, it can be bad news. You can lose yourself in it just like any other drug out there. Many people don't admit to this though so I feel that you're doing better than most. Indulging every now and then is awesome and kind of necessary but you're doing good work by setting limits. You're not going to snort a gram of coke every day and you really shouldn't be eating shit tons of ice cream either.

Dave said...

If you've got a spare hour, you can always try tracking that other guy down through association: www.imdb.com