Union Station, toxic foods, adorable babies

The first rules that preschoolers learn are to stand in line and wait their turn.

Even though these are the most basic and primitive of social instructions, some people fail to respect the relevancy and necessity of order.

This morning at Union Station, I had a rather inspirational and feel-good pep talk with a D.C. contact. By the end of the discussion, I was feeling excited about life, encouraged, and confident in my job search.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm went on hold the moment I stepped into the public restroom and saw women pushing each other, cutting in front of others, and disregarding the line that had formed. At least four ladies and one teenager moved right past me when it was clearly my turn to move forward and use the next vacant stall.

With that, I quickly realized the boundaries of public restroom usage in Union Station. There are no regulations, and etiquette is nonexistent. No one wants to spend much time in the lavatories, and for good reason. If nobody wants any sort of bathroom code, well, I suppose I’ll just have to adapt and learn to fend for myself.

It’s just interesting to me because I’ve always made it a priority to be considerate of strangers and passersby. In grocery stores, I push my shopping cart as far as I can to the end of the aisle because I don’t want to be in anyone’s way. If I’m seated on the metro, I hold my purse in my lap so somebody else can take the chair next to me. I hold doors open, wait my turn, and always ask women with children or older folk if they’d like to go ahead of me in line. I’m not trying to sound like the most polite person in the world, I just believe in good manners and common courtesy.

But, it’s helpful to know that not all places operate this way.

On the bright side, I did happen to see an adorable baby on the metro this afternoon. He was hands down the cutest infant I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. No offense to my lovely nephews and niece, but this kid may actually top the list of cute babies.

I mentioned this to the dad, who replied, “Well now, that’s going to go straight to his head!” Let him revel in it, though.

Times like that make me deeply sad about the fact that I live so far away from my nephews, especially Sawyer and Luke. I wish I could visit with them more often, but this isn’t practical or logistical right now. I used to wish the same thing about my older brothers when I was younger. I was 7 years old and they were both off at college. As much as I wanted to hang around them, I knew they were happier at school than home. Hopefully Sawyer, Luke, Hannah, and Cullen can someday understand that my life is immensely better on the east coast, where the pace meets my standards and atmosphere inspires me.

In other news, all is well on the home front. My roommate and I had salmon, green beans, and brown rice for dinner last night. It’s peaceful and relaxing to finish off our days with healthy, protein-heavy meals, and I can’t help but remember all the family dinners I was lucky to have during my childhood.

I greatly enjoy having a pseudo family meal with my roommate, although I can tell she’s becoming impatient with my less-than-adventurous eating habits.

Yesterday at Trader Joe’s, she asked me, “What kind of meat should we get?”

It was then that I realized that she’s constantly consulting me on what we should eat for dinner. I feel bad about this because I don’t want to be the sole person that makes choices. She should certainly have a say in our meals.

“Why is it always my decision?” I said.

“Because I’m significantly less picky than you.”

We laughed, being that my parents, siblings, and friends have never been able to break me of my picky eating tendencies.

I won’t apologize, though, nor will I change. I tried to lay it all out for my roommate in basic terms:

Aesthetics are important in most facets of life. For me, the appearance of food is crucial to my enjoyment.

For example, I look at this piece of French saucisson and want to dry heave into my toilet bowl:

It’s worse than it looks, too. I’ve never tasted blood before, but I can imagine that a lamb’s leg smothered in a pint of pig’s blood would resemble the taste of saucisson. I mean, when you see saucisson, don’t you think of freshly severed limbs? Bleh….

Another poultry that absolutely repulses me to no end is duck.

For me, duck is a toss up between beef jerky and burnt bacon. Swallowing it physically hurt, and of course I gagged by no fault of my own.

The most disgusting things I’ve ever tasted were anchovies. Unfortunately, my “anchovies incident” is an unforgettable one.

While in France, I was closed off to much of the meat products that my friend’s family served. I could tell that they were taking my habits to heart, and who could blame them?

To make my friend’s father happy, I agreed to try some anchovies, which he loved to consume alongside his baguette.

As soon as I stuck the anchovies onto my tongue, I’d lost all control. My body literally rejected the food, ejecting the anchovies out of my mouth and back onto my plate. It was the only instance in which I’ve absolutely lost control with food. I flung forward and spit it out against my own will. The anchovies were just too salty, sodium-filled, and gross for me to consume.

Going back to what I said earlier, appearance plays a big role in my meal satisfaction. I don’t necessarily want to munch on anything that looks like it’s been soaked in blood (saucisson).

Concepts are important, too, although I’ve been able to get past quite a few horrific dining scenarios.

Every time I eat foie gras/pate, I tell myself, “I am eating a liver right now. How is it that I like this so much?”

Somehow, I manage to forget that foie gras is a liver, yet I can’t get my head around the fact that some people eat muscles, pig feet, sheep testicles, intestines, etc.

So, much to the disappointment of my foodie roommate, I will not be up for any ethnic restaurant outings. Dub me an uncultured American if you’d like, and I certainly won’t hold it against you.

I feel slightly bad because my roommate has expressed an interest in going to Lebanese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, and Indian restaurants. Much to my discontent, there are plenty of these sorts of eateries in the D.C. area, being the metropolis that it is.

I typically pull the, “let’s not eat out, we need to save money,” card, but you, my faithful readers, know the real reason why I won’t be going to these places. She knows as well, and I can see that it kills her a little inside every time I allude to my dislike for pretty much all refined cuisine.

It also saddens me that I inadvertently dictate the meals around this house.

As I’ve told my roommate a million times, it’s quite possible to eat two separate meals at once. For example, I told her that she can get Lebanese takeout for herself while I make myself a sandwich.

I don’t do this on purpose, but I can’t ignore the fact that my stomach cannot physically handle lots of food. I enjoy Bosnian dinners, yet I always feel sick afterward. Too much red meat is damaging to one’s health, and spicy sauces are difficult to digest.

What do you know? Yahoo just published a story on the 5 foods people fear.

The five most singled out foods were:

* Mushrooms
* Raisins/dried fruits
* Cheese
* Eggs
* Milk

Out of all those, I only dislike mushrooms, to which nutritionist Sondra Kronberg says, “Mushrooms are technically a fungus, so it makes sense someone would equate it with germs and growths. Maybe even subconsciously they think they’ll contract a fungus from the food.”

The Yahoo writer also included this information:

New research suggests picky eaters have a genetic makeup that predisposes them to food sensitivity. According to new evidence, heightened reactions to tastes and textures–especially when it comes to vegetables– may be something you’re born with. This just adds more ammo to the picky eater argument, which has actually become a movement of late with internet forums and live support groups mobilizing the long brushed-off. There’s something comforting to the fact that you’re not alone in being incredibly high-maintenance about something incredibly specific.

I’m not crazy after all.


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