We are minus the Internet at home right now, so I had the night to figure how not to turn this into another whiny post about our culture's pervasive diet obsession and made up food rules and food-based holiday perversions and other points of why is this so much lose? Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in my attempts to reframe the night outside of the frame of whinging. (I think that frame is probably a nauseating puce hue, don't you?) Instead, I shall simply take you through the first night of Passover. I preface this by stating that I love my mother-in-law forever, the end.
4:30 p.m.: I arrive at BIL & SIL's apartment not far from ours. Everything's fine....
4:45 p.m.: .... for about 15 minutes, until an extended-family-member-by-marriage (SIL's family) arrives and sees my husband, who has lost a lot of weight (in the healthy sense) since the last time he saw this guy, and who has started going to the gym again recently.
4:46 - 5:00 p.m.: Uninterrupted monologue at me about food and diet and weight loss. This guy recently lost 23 lbs. and is so! excited! about it! He has more energy! He has to restrain himself from eating as much as he wants! He's so much healthier! It's easier when you both [in a marriage] get into the fitness thing! He can tell that my husband's health kick was really all because of me because I look so good and am obviously into the health thing! Actually, I tell him, I'm not really doing anything different than I've ever done in a long time; the newfound healthiness is all to my husband's credit. Well good for him because it's so important to stay trim! Also fad diets are awful, but here are some food rules! And here are some more! Also, some crazy people eat raw food! Also the entire food supply is tainted and meat is evil! But this guy still eats meat! Also, they tracked anorexics and they actually lived longer! Oh, I mention, as my MIL sidles over and slips her arm through mine and squeezes -- he isn't talking about actual anorexics, he's talking about that primate study where they found that a "restricted calorie" diet may contribute to longevity? Yes! That's exactly the one he means! But who can enjoy their life like that?! If you're not eating you're not really living! Also, being thin does not necessarily mean being healthy! I mean, you guys, not fifteen minutes ago, he was talking about how he's living 100% magic-level better because he's started eating less, but if you're not eating what you want, you're not living. He can look at me and tell I'm healthy because I'm thin, but being thing does not equate to being healthy. I cannot even with this cognitive dissonance. I cannot even.
5:00 p.m.: The seder starts. Guess who I am seated right across from.
5:30 p.m.: Super-reform and fast seder is super-reform and fast. Time for eating. Guess who comes back to the table with his plate piled ridiculously high and tells me that he breaks all his food rules today.
5:31 p.m.: I sneak into the coat room to text my mom because WHAT IS THIS, I CAN'T EVEN.
5:32 p.m.: The husband leaves me here, with his family, to go home and do work. Visions of cast-iron skillets and blood-spattered walls dance in my head.
5:32 - 6:15 p.m.: Guess who spends all the actual eating time talking about food rules and the meat in the stew that is evil (evil with hormones and toxins, that is) but delicious.
6:15 p.m.: The evening takes a promising turn when the guy and I remember that we were both raised Catholic. We begin to have a non-food, non-body-related discussion about the issues that caused us to break with the Church, and Catholicism and its contrasts with Judaism... Only the discussion doesn't so much remain a discussion; it morphs into a monologue. It's a shame, too, because it really could have been an interesting two-way conversation. I tried, I really did, but I very literally couldn't get a word in.
6:25 p.m.: The two doctors present at the table start to discuss the deficit, and how nothing will ever be solved until overspending in Medicare is addressed. Some of their statements are sweeping generalizations, but some of them are fact-based and experience-based, so I can live with that.
6:26 p.m.: Then other people chime in about Social Security.
6:27 p.m.: Then someone says that Trump would be a better president than Obama.
6:28 p.m.: Then I leave, because that, apparently, is the line for me.