by Chris from Surviving Myself
“Well that doesn’t surprise me.”
The words fell out of John’s mouth just like that. No hint of emotion, just a statement, kind of like when someone is talking to their Mom and has zoned out halfway through the conversation, so everything they say sounds exactly the same. — “Yeah Mom” and “I don’t know. Yesterday?”
A monotone reaction. That’s what John had to the notion that I had just purchased three snacks for myself, rather than one Big Snack for the group of us, like my girlfriend, my friend and his girlfriend had done. He had no real reaction because John is a good friend of mine, and anyone who knows me knows that I am myself all the time, and myself = someone who generally cares only about me.
I find life easier this way.
When Dave (my friend), Ari (my girlfriend), John, Sarah (his girlfriend) and I decided to go upstate to visit Lake George and stay in a cabin and drink a lot and maybe play Frisbee until our hands hurt, I knew that we’d be arriving there late in the evening. I thought about this as we took our rented car out of the city and zoomed up the long, boring highways that lead to the secluded lake.
Thoughts were twisting in my brain while everyone else in the car talked amongst themselves and made fun of me for making a mix cd with Peter Gabriel on it. John in particular was not fond of my selection.
“This makes me not like you,” he said.
I was Unphased, of course, because I was thinking about My Hunger and My Needs.
As the night went on and we got closer to the cabin, we decided it was a good time to get food, since Lake George would have nothing open when we got there.
We found a gas station that didn’t look too much like a haven for redneck ax murderers and pulled over. As we all climbed out of the car, I was already envisioning my snacks.
I could smell them.
I could taste them.
I could hear them. “Come eat me Chris. No, no one else wants us, we are here all for you. You are hungry, so eat, my dear Chris! Eat like the king you are!”
I think this last Food Talking Moment happened as everyone else discussed what would be The Best Thing For The Group.
So as they all browsed and selected big bags of chips and things that everyone would be sure to enjoy, I selected a small bag of Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips (AKA crack), a king size Twix and a little pack of Ritz Bits with peanut butter.
I was feeling Proud Of Myself. I had selected a fine group of snacks that would please me in many ways – the Sun Chips would be nice and salty, the Twix would be pleasantly sweet and the Ritz Bits would soak up all the Bud Lights that I intended to consume while yelling at people for cheating at Scattergories. Of course they’ll say that I was cheating, but that is not the point. I was ready for the night – that is the point.
It was when I was standing in a glow of Snack Success that I noticed everyone had already paid for their snacks and was waiting on me to do the same.
I made my way to the register, briefly considered purchasing a local newspaper based solely on the fact the headline read, “Boy Gets Too Close To Bison,” decided against it (which I now regret), and paid for my food.
My friends had already made their way to the car, so I ran to catch up with them. As soon as I caught up, John glanced over and asked me what I bought.
This was my time to shine!
I smiled proudly. I acted like I forgot, like I hadn’t hatched a brilliant plan to satisfy all my needs, and looked in the bag and relayed my booty to all.
I pulled out the Ritz Bits and said, “Oh, let’s see. These little babies!” Then extracted the Twix, with a “And oh snap!” and finally yanked the Sun Chips out for all to see by proclaiming, “Yeah, I gots me some Sun Chips bitches!”
By this time we had arrived at the car and I noticed that everyone was looking at me with a slightly surprised expression.
Of course I assumed this was because they were marveling at my Food Finds.
But that was not the case.
Ari spoke first.
“But what did you buy for the group?”
Sarah chimed in next with, “You bought stuff just for you? No one else???”
Then, after a brief moment of silence, Dave.
“Dude, we all bought food that everyone would like and you went in there and just bought a bunch of shit for yourself. What the fuck?”
I decided it was time for Defense, so I replied, “Well, yeah! I mean, I like Sun Chips, so I bought them. You guys can have some too!” This, somehow, did not convince them that I was looking out for anyone other than myself.
Then came the “Well that doesn’t surprise me” from John.
I looked at him. He shook his head. I shrugged my shoulders.
We all climbed back into the car in a strained silence, and I tried one more time, “But really, who wants a Ritz Bits? Anyone? I’m offering you some right now!”
But it was too late.
They knew me. They knew the true me. Someone who does not particularly enjoy Thinking About Others, and someone who was going to have to painfully part with at least one Twix bar before the night was over.