I attempt friendly chit chat with a stiff upper lip to hide the cat's cradle of elastic bands covering “my braces.” As it turns out, this woman works at some health thigummy place and her husband has had jaw surgery. She commiserates with me about liquid food and stray fibres. She advises me of the importance of protein in my diet. I used to have a vague and random knowledge of the subject, but over the last few years and especially lately, such matters have dwindled in priority. Too stress the point, she reminds me that a lack of protein can have dire consequences for an otherwise healthy person. She leans forward to belabour the point, 'yur hair il fall out in hand fulls!” I consider the tufts of grey hair that currently decorate my scalp.
I return home with renewed vigour to consume yet another chocolate shake with extra soy protein powder to clog up the braces and lure cavities.
I do not share my son's need for perfection. The 'that'll do' approach dominates. [translation = if in doubt, give up] For novelty's sake, I decide to read the label and torture my brain with a little mathematical calculation. I determine that two 'scoops' of foul protein powder should be the new order of the day. The only problem with this plan is that I have mislaid the measuring scoop, or more truthfully, that “a certain lizard” of our acquaintance, has a greater need than mine. Now that it has been contaminated I am less inclined to retrieve it. I 'guess,' plop a couple of shovelfuls into the liquidizer and stab 'on.' Once the power has been cut, junior emerges from his hiding spot with his hands still over his ears, with a touch of “enthusiasm.”
“You are have chocolate milkshake?” he beams rhetorically.
“It is cold?”
“Oh no, just room temperature, just the way you like it.”
“I do not like it.”
“You do not like it either I am finking.”
“You're not wrong there matey.” I tip it into a tall glass, a glass glass because plastic tumblers that are mangled in a dish washer are foul. It takes a long time for the contents to empty, thick, foamy, glutenous. We look at it together.
“It is a liquid?” I don't answer immediately as I try to work out the 'right' answer.
“I fink maybe you are going to be eating it.” Always better to let him answer his own questions, as it's bound to save on a few meltdowns. “Maybe you are wanting a straw?” he seems to ask himself. I am delighted with this considerate consideration. “Perhaps, you are needing a spoon. You are needing a very small spoon?” he mentions in a dubious tone as we both contemplate braces, elastic bands and mouth hardware in general. We look at each other, pupils locked on pupils. I lift the glass and tilt it to my lips. The surface fails to yield. My glass is filled with a solid cylinder of milkshake. For the moment I would prefer to avoid the debate about what foods are “solid” to be eaten, and which are liquid, to be drunk.
“I know!” he pipes, “it is chocolate pudding, so I can be eating it for you!”
Oh good o, that solves that one then! He is such a solution orientated little guy. If there is a causal connection between “male pattern balding” and “neophobia,” he may just have licked it! Or maybe, eaten it. It’s enough to make your “hair” stand on end, if you have any. I assume that I am therefore destined to be the bald one of the family. At least I already have my “glasses” as a prop.
p.s.Yes, it is a 'new food' because it's voluntary, it is a familiar food in a different form or at least it is if “neophobia” is in your household.