Monday, August 28, 2006

An Afternoon in a Coffee Shop

I’m sitting at a coffee shop this weekend, working on this book. A few people wander behind me, and I’m half-listening to their conversation as I write. One of the women asks the man, “Is that your lunch?” And then I hear (from the man): “Yeah. I’m on a diet. My goal weight is four pounds.” I turn around. He notices me, noticing him, and asks, “What do you think? Is that a good goal?”

I glance back at my computer screen before replying, “I’m writing a book on eating disorders, so I’m going to go with ‘no.’”

He laughs, but then continues: “My whole life, I’ve wanted to be anorexic—but I’m always hungry. I wish I were anorexic.”

“No you don’t,” I quip.

“Yes, I do—my sister was anorexic. I was so jealous.” I stare. “I’m just kidding,” he says. “I joke a lot.” I freeze, caught between a general tendency toward humor appreciation and not wanting to condone a joke about an issue I take so seriously, managing only a half-smile in return. He tells his companion, “I’m going to go back there (he points), before she hits me in the head.”

A friend overhears the exchange and states the unspoken truth: “Theoretically, you could never stop writing, because people are going to give you material wherever you go.” It’s true—even as I sit here writing, there’s something more to tell. At some point, I hope to put this in print, but long after I tire of writing on this topic, there will always be another story, another joke, another conversation. . . .

5 comments:

PalmTreeChick said...

That's for sure. You'll NEVER be at a loss for material. If you are, just call on me. I'll come up with something for ya. ;) I've got some crazy stories.

Wait til Oprah gets a hold of your book!!

Beth said...

I hear something like this too, at least once a week or so. I guess some might view such comments as insensitive, but I always remember that people who don't live the disorders have no insight into the gravity. I don't find it upsetting. Drstacey, we seem to have the same guilty pleasure of listening to other peoples' conversations. Now that's something I don't want to give up!

drstaceyny said...

ptc--thanks, though I wish you COULDN'T help. . .

beth--that's true, regarding a lack of insight. That's one of my goals--to increase awareness. . . .

PalmTreeChick said...

Yeah, I guess it would probably be better if I couldn't help. You're right.

Haley-O said...

I think we could all write a book/memoir about all the conversations, incidences, thoughts we have related to this issue. It's everywhere, every minute....Glad you're doing it....Keep up the great work. :)