Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Salmon Diet

One day during the summer when I had finally decided to make a serious attempt at weight loss and had actually started to see some results, I got into a conversation at the beach with a family friend. Mrs. Chandler* was pleasant lady, she and my mother got along really well, though, as my dad said, “a little bit of Mrs. Chandler goes a long way.”
Quick wits and tact not being her most outstanding features, she was often the subject of good-natured joking among my admittedly hypercritical family. Once while out to dinner with my parents she asked a waiter to repeat a few of the specials and then asked for elaboration on the preparation and presentation of a certain salmon special and commented on what a good choice that was. When the waiter asked what side dishes she’d like with her salmon she looked at him wide-eyed and said matter-of-factly “I’m not having that, I don’t like fish.”

She was in fine form the day we stood by the water’s edge chatting about my school year and her job while we watched my sister doing gymnastics in the sand. After a short lull in the conversation she smiled and said “Jackie is turning into such a lovely young woman isn’t she? She’s absolutely beautiful.”
“Yeah, it’s awesome, I’m really happy for her,” I replied, with all the enthusiasm of a death row inmate when asked what he thought of the new shade of green on the hallway floor.
The subject of my younger sister’s attractiveness had long been a sore spot for me, since I saw it as a direct lead-in to an appraisal of my own looks and always imagined the appraiser concluding the evaluation with “but Ali sure is smart, knows all kinds of words- and what great dental hygiene!”

About a minute after she made this comment, as sort of an afterthought, Mrs. Chandler said “And you’re looking good these days, your program is helping, you can tell you’re really working hard.”

I suppose one could take this as a compliment. I am not that one. The translation to me was, “Your sister is so beautiful, just gets prettier every day…oh, and you’re less fat now, must be pretty tough for you to lay off those fried Oreos, eh?”
I held my tongue and just said thank you and walked away. I'm sure she forgot about immediately but you can bet that from that day on, not one wrinkle, not a single cellulitic dimple on her escapes me and every imperfection I notice makes me feel a little better...that and suggesting my parents serve fish whenever she comes over.

*Name has been changed to protect, well, honestly, me- from the stink eye

1 comment:

Alexis said...


She's a great subject. Really. So complex. So.....?