Saturday was our first big night out in a long time. (A “big night,” of course, means “the children were at home and we weren’t.”) A couple of months ago, we bought tickets for a Bill Cosby concert at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in downtown Nashville, and earlier this week I made dinner reservations at what looked to be a nice restaurant with interesting items on the menu, such as bison sandwiches.
I’d like to try a bison sandwich someday, but we ended up walking out of the place. I’m not a hockey fan and didn’t think to check if the Predators were playing that night at the Bridgestone arena, which is three blocks from the restaurant. They were.
The restaurant was jammed with hockey fans, the staff was racing around trying to keep up, and nobody even acknowledged us for the first 10 minutes we stood there. The Cosby concert was at 8:00, so I’d made a 6:30 reservation, but we weren’t seated until nearly 7:00. We sat for another five minutes before a waiter dropped a couple of menus on the table and dashed off again. No “Let me tell you about the specials” or “May I get you something from the bar?” Just plop, plop, gone.
At that point, I said to my wife, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” She agreed and we left. Walking north towards the Performing Arts Center, we passed a few restaurants where we could’ve gotten a quick meal, but most of them had big TVs showing the Steelers-Ravens game. I was recording the game, and I hate learning the outcome of games I plan to watch later, especially playoffs. So we ended up at Sbarro (a sort of fast-food Italian restaurant, for those of you who don’t know), partly because we knew we’d be in and out quickly, and partly because they didn’t have a big TV showing the game.
So imagine how overjoyed I was when a pimply-faced twenty-something walked through the door, spotted a friend with whom he’d apparently had a football disagreement, and announced, “Hey, ass****! Pittsburgh won! Ha!”
Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you so much, you @#$%ing pea-brained pimply-faced little #$%@.
No, I don’t expect people to stop and ask themselves if perhaps someone within shouting distance might have recorded the game .. but really, is there ever a reason to walk into a public restaurant and yell to someone sitting across the room? (I mean, besides something like, “The building next door is on fire and you all should leave.”)
Since I believe in letting my hair down (metaphorically, of course) one or twice per month and eating whatever I want, we split portions of lasagna with meatballs, chicken parmesan, and one slice of pizza. Then we walked to the concert, with me still grumbling about the pimply-faced Steelers fan.
If anyone can de-grumble me, it’s Bill Cosby. This was the third time I’ve seen him perform live, and all I can say is, he’s still the most delightful comedian ever. In one of the funniest bits of the whole show, he imitated how it sounded to him when his parents had an argument downstairs, while he listened to their muffled voices upstairs. He had the audience roaring for a full two minutes — without saying any real words. Just back-and-forth muffled voices, with all the laughs coming from changes in the vocal tones. (His father lost that argument, by the way.) Comic genius.
We walked the several blocks to where we’d parked and left just in time to run smack into bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving the hockey stadium. I now like hockey even less than before. For a little while there, it felt like being back in Los Angeles.
I had also recorded the Packers-Falcons game and decided I wanted a couple of Foster’s Lagers to go along with the game, so we stopped at a beer store on the way home. (In Tennessee, stores can either sell beer, or wine and liquor. I have no idea what that’s supposed to accomplish. Often the stores are side-by-side, with the same owner.) My wife went in to pick up the beer, because I figured if I did it, the clerk would surely greet me with something like, “Hey, how about that dramatic overtime win by the Falcons? Uh, sir, why are you leaving …?”
So I finished my big Saturday night enjoying a combination of football, beer, nuts and cheese. Since I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting, that made Sunday the perfect choice for an all-day fast. Perhaps denying myself any food the day after indulging appeals to some part of my consciousness conditioned by years of Catholic schooling.
Most days last week, I adopted the 8-hour window method of IF, which for me means limiting my food intake to between noon and 8:00 PM. That’s no big deal. It just means giving up my usual late-night snack.
But once again, I was surprised at how easy it was to go all day Sunday without eating. No low blood sugar, no mental fog, no urge to take anyone’s head off — although when my wife started describing an interesting pork recipe she’d just seen, I did say, “Uh … would you mind not talking about the delicious meals you’re planning to make?”
I had hunger pangs for the last two hours before bed last night, but ignored them. I’d planned to go to the gym this morning and work out — exercising in a fasted state is supposed to spur muscle growth — but remembered it was closed for Martin Luther King Day. So I did calisthenics and some power-band exercises to work my muscles. I finally had my first meal of bacon and eggs around 11:00 AM.
Now that I know I won’t be miserable, I’ll probably go for an all-day fast every Sunday. But if the Bears make it to the Super Bowl, I reserve the right to eat whatever I want on February 6th.