Today, the festivities (a.k.a., the gluttonies) began in earnest.
Lunch was a potluck affair arranged by Abbey’s high school girlfriends. Dinner was a Japanese smorgasborg hosted by Abbey’s sister’s father-in-law (if you’re Filipino, you grasped that sequence of relationships without having to bat an eyelash).
Given that Abbey and I are no longer accustomed to three full meals a day (most times not even two), the affairs were overwhelming, to say the least.
And, yes, I know—there are strategies for managing these events: eating before the party, using tiny plates, maxing out the salads, taking minute portions, chewing everything thoroughly, putting utensils down between mouthfuls, taking sips of water, avoiding second helpings, skipping the dessert, proclaiming you’re vegetarian, and so on and so forth.
But really: my life is spartan enough as it is and I can’t be bothered with applications of willpower in settings permeated by peer or collegial pressure. (Unfortunately, this doesn’t obviate the ever-so-insidious guilt. It can’t be helped. I’m Filipino and I’m Catholic. Guilt is a default condition. Guilt is the primordial condition. Plus, it’s Christmas. If you’re Filipino and Catholic, you will eat at every Yuletide festivity. It’s like the Eleventh Commandment—inscribed as a cultural imperative more obdurate than stone.)
Obviously, when it comes to food, I unabashedly tend to play the victim.
But then again, don’t we all?
(That last line was me playing the victim and dragging everyone else along with me.)
But seriously, there’s got to be a less indulgent way of celebrating the holidays. Something that’s preferably culturally-sanctioned and doesn’t transform every occasion into a moral dilemma. It’s just, I don’t know, less…gut-wrenching I guess.