Election 2020 has put an extra five pounds on me. On Tuesday, as I watched the returns coming in, my appetite for salty, crunchy foods hit new highs. We made tacos for dinner, and I ate extra beans and onions and chips and cheese and guacamole, and vigorously shook out way too many drops of Tabasco sauce on everything. I was wound up.
Record-breaking quantities of food passed through my mouth at dinnertime. With every new red or blue state on the map, I headed for the kitchen. I devoured 80 percent of the crunchy food group before moving on to chocolate.
It was fear eating. Like when I’m at the cinema watching a scary movie in wide-eyed horror, barely breathing, putting fistful after fistful of faux-butter popcorn in my mouth with one hand, clutching the armrest with the other, not even aware I’m eating until my greasy fingers scratch the bottom of the bucket.
The TV news coverage was scanty filler for strings of commercials. Seven minutes of trying to convince us to buy stuff we don’t need followed by two minutes of newscasters reading numbers on the screen that we can see for ourselves. I loved how they put up – I think it was Arizona – 00 on the red side and 00 on the blue side, and said in all seriousness, “It’s too soon to call.” Ya think?
As the evening wore on, I got really scared. It wasn’t looking good – the pantry was almost empty. The only chocolate left was that bitter dry powder in the Hershey’s cocoa can that has to be cooked in some way to be eaten. At that point, microwaving milk and mixing in the cocoa until it quit floating on top required more effort and gumption than I had. Then I’d have to stir in sugar. Too much work. Fear and food had worn me out.
Around nine o’clock we took a break and fast-forwarded through a saved sitcom. After checking the election results again, I said. “I’m done. I’ll see what happened in the morning.” It was early to hit the hay, but there was nothing left to eat. In bed, the beans, onions, hot sauce and chocolate did not play nice in my stomach. Skirmishes occurred in assorted locations, muffled battle cries filled the room, explosions rippled throughout the war zone. Sleep did not come easily.
For days I was an overweight ostrich with my head in the sand. I got updates from friends, but I didn’t watch the news again except in short bursts. Scrolling through the stations, the same newscasters (don’t they ever sleep?) said the same things; the same man on NBC waved his arms over the red and blue map like he was casting a spell. I’ll be hearing, “too close to call” in my nightmares for weeks. My nerves were shot. I was frazzled, wrung out, wasted. And hungry.
Now that the election is over, I worry about what’s going to happen in the next couple of months, but I’ll think about that tomorrow. These last few days have been an adrenaline rocket ride. I need to go to the grocery store, clean my house, rake leaves, start a new diet – get my life, (and my pulse) back to normal. But I’m thinking there may be just enough milk to make a cup of hot chocolate, and maybe, if I dig a little more, I’ll find a partial bag of not-too-stale potato chips or a not-too-old piece of candy tucked somewhere I haven’t looked.
Time to start my new exercise program – with running to the kitchen.