We are in Boston,
for a wedding. Not actually Boston,
actually. Outside of Boston. Way
outside of Boston. Over the woods
and through the hills, to the shack of the scary man who will take and tan our
skins and side his house with them. Boston-ish. It is not, as my mother says,
"the first real social event you’ve been to since you’ve lost
weight," but it’s close. It’s the one with the most anxiety, since I
am meeting friends of Guy’s who have been looking forward to meeting me for years, so there are pretty much all the same
issues I had with going to Chicago. Nothing new there, or under the sun.

What is new in this case is that these are all relative strangers who I am
meeting for the first time, and who I will never meet again. So in the big
scheme of things, not important really, right? We will be friendly and have a
nice time and dance the dances (I enjoy dancing in my gold disco shoes) and it
will be swell, and I do not have to tell anyone about my weight-loss surgery
because it’s really not important to anyone but me. Which is fine! But what’s striking me this
time–the second time I’ve traveled this month, so maybe it is just
reinforcement, or the tiredness talking–is how hard it is to be away from my
own fridge, out of my comfort zone, far away from tuna.

It is hard to do this, this on-the-road food. You’d think it
would be easy, with the prevalence of protein in the world. As I understand it,
it is a readily accessible resource for Americans of a certain income, which I
know I am lucky enough to be. But you
would be wrong! Surprisingly, frustratingly, irritatingly wrong and you would
also find me impoverished. Because it’s
not like there’s nothing at all, but what there is, when you’re traveling, are $15 sandwiches in the airport which are mostly bread and sprouts–but
that sad mouthful of turkey, it is helpful! If I do not have $1,500 to spend on a mouthful of turkey, I can have a $7 hot dog, a $5 bag of peanuts, a nasty protein bar. I can gnaw on the edge of the
carpet. None of these things exactly agree with my belly, but isn’t that a
small price to pay for nutrition (and also fiber and building up my resistance
to diseases in the case of the carpet)?

And then the plane. I forgot to bring anything on to the
plane, though, which was a big problem. Plane snack food consists, nowadays in
this time of rampant, raging peanut allergies, of bags of carbohydrates. Snack
mixes they are called in the real world, but I look at it nowadays, and think
either bag of carbohydrates, or, alternately, if I am feeling cranky, hungry,
tired and stuck without recourse, "Bag of Suck." "Bag of Pain" also works. Not just
my pain, of which there is plenty in my stomach, after a Bag of Suck–pain for
the other passengers, because if I break down and eat a handful of pretzels, it
once again disagrees with my belly, and I become an environmental hazard and
the plane maybe has to land and be quarantined.

I survived the plane, though. I survived the rehearsal
dinner, too, which was all the bread you can eat, and bean and barley soup, and
then a salad, and then your choice of chicken parm with all the spaghetti in
the world, or a lovely breaded fish stuffed with breaded crab. And then for
dessert, pudding. It was hard not to
feel sorry for myself, sitting there, drinking water, and finding it deeply
unfair that I could not drink wine and eat salad and take a massive fork of
spaghetti and roll it around on my plate and cram the entire thing in my mouth.
I wanted to put my face into Guy’s plate and just suck noodles into my head
until there were none left or we totally did that Lady and the Tramp thing. I
would not nose the meatball over to him because oh my God protein, mine!

But I survived. And then we drove back to the hotel where I
had another sad protein bar that would hurt my belly waiting for me and I
could not help but notice how we had somehow found ourselves in a state where
there is a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner. I used to live on the East Coast. I
grew up with bottles filled with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, skim milk and two sugars,
and then a handful of cherry donuts. Oh my God, cherry donuts. You don’t
understand the pull that these Dunkin’ Donuts we pass every 10 feet are having
on me and my protein-starved brain. I am starting to wonder what’s going to
happen to me, this weekend. I am
supposed to get at least 80 grams of protein a day, to keep my body from
falling apart at the joints and keep my muscles from Jell-O-fying and my hair all
stuck firmly to my scalp and probably also my brain from atrophying. More.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, and my life is over, and I
will fall completely apart; just these few days where things are hard and I
should just sit in a corner and eat Oreos and let myself crumble into very
unhealthy pieces while I destroy the ozone layer with my butt and bemoan my fate,
which is a terrible fate of terribleness and woe. I am managing to cobble
together meals from convenience stores that aren’t totally killing me, and I am
learning lessons for next time, like: Bring protein shakes to furtively drink
in the bathroom, and maybe stay home next time. Or maybe plan better. Get
over this feeling sorry for yourself thing, because this is your life.

It is kind of a shock, every time that I remember that this
isn’t just temporary, this isn’t just a thing you’re kind of going through,
girlfriend, this is how life is, and how life will continue to be. I can kick
and scream and whine (see above), or I can try to learn to deal with it, with
as much grace as I can muster. I’ve never been a graceful person.

6 Replies to “jetsetter”

  1. I am going to a wedding in Dunkin Donut Land in September, where I will have to do maid of honor duties while remembering protein! Always protein! And after reading this, I think I will have to pack cans of tuna, and also lots of protein shakes. And I will have to pay the heavy baggage charge I’m sure, but I will do it gladly since I am learning by example from you. So I know it is small comfort but thank you!

  2. Bacon, egg, & cheese on a croissant. Throw half the croissant away and fold what’s left in half. You’ve got lovely greasy protein on a roll that is mostly fat anyway. If you’ve had a DS, you’ll malabsorb most of it.

    I speak with authority, as this is my breakfast most mornings. Dunkin Donuts can still be your friend.

  3. I’m dying laughing at your descriptions, but I feel your pain! I travel more than most, and the stupid airline restrictions these days make it nigh impossible to bring something portable on the plane that you can eat.

    One of my travel standbys is the New Whey protein vials – they are 3 oz, so small enough to fit within the kevlar-ziploc baggie requirements. Now I’ve heard the taste fondly described as monkey-butt, so I’m not promising a TASTY treat……but at least it’s protein, and 42g at that.

    Also – the one protein-laden food I’ve found recently in a number of airports is chili! Yes, it’s a pound of flesh, and your first born, but that’s why they hold you hostage first and THEN make you pay for food.


  4. I live in Dunkie-land. Once I reallowed the crossiant-wich back to my diet, I was wanting one Every Day. So, no mo’ Dunkins’ for me. And, I pass one to ten in every trip out of the house. I won’t mention that I made sweet love to a Glazed Stick yesterday, and paid for it. (That sounded awfully naughty, well, it was, but not in that way.)

  5. Last time I had to fly I took some of those tuna pouches with me. There’s very little juice so its relatively not messy. It is hard to be out of your comfort zone when you are sticking to any kind of eating plan.

    Hope you had a good trip!

  6. I too once called Massachusetts home, and your post made me laugh out loud. The whole Dunkin’ Donuts thing is like a cult up there! It’s not normal.

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