Today be a very busy day in West Fork. I have some chores to do here as well as study. The needed GRE studies amounted to reading some of the introduction to the study guide last night. Yet, there were bigger fish to fry. Well, bake. This may seem insignificant to most, but to me this was an Everest. I suppose I owe everyone an explanation if I am to kick a Morning Meditation off this way.
I haven’t eaten more than a bite of fish in close to thirty years. “What?!” some of you may ask. This is a true story. Sometime after five years old, but before ten, I couldn’t eat fish anymore. The reasons are hazy. I believe the taste got to me at first (psychology shows us that our intuitions are almost never correct), but now, later in life, it is a sickness. This sickness likely contributes to my back condition from a dietary perspective. The fish oils contain things my body could use to stabilize, if not aid in my Wolverine like healing of, the degenerating back condition.
My last two relationship partners all signed up to help me with defeating this tick, but alas, they couldn’t hang in there long enough to provide me with any assistance. Not all their faults, as I was a raving lunatic through most of those relationships, but despite all of that, the problem remains. How does Rance get fish into his diet without supplements? I have a life goal of wanting to get nutrition from food. End of story. Another goal being that my daughter be raised in a home where our diet is varied, and without fish, she misses a giant part of what it is to eat amazing food. Then it occurred to me. Perry.
Perry, for those of you that don’t know, is my partner in crime when it comes to music. He and I have invested time, money, and mostly ourselves into building and maintaining a musical environment, as well, we have built studios and recorded folks from all over the area. He cooks very well. Yet, he goes beyond that.
Perry doesn’t just cook well, he engages in the act of cooking. I love watching him move around his kitchen while preparing a meal, Bud Lite in hand, explaining the where’s and how’s of all the prep laid out on the island counter top. Often he knows the markets he has purchased meat from and has a clear goal for the veggies. I get wrapped up in his process. One cannot help but be excited with Perry as he cooks. All of it gets eaten within a few days. Even if he makes enough for seventeen people and three shows up, there will be leftovers that taste amazing for a fuckin’ week. I think his food keeps because of the attention he devotes to real and fresh ingredients. A cold fridge helps as well.
So two nights ago, I was at his house assisting in the adaptation of things to create a vocal booth (his idea is one of the most brilliant things I have ever seen and should be marketed to small studios, which is why I will not describe it here, but incredible to say the least). Standing at his kitchen counter, having a night cap beer with him is when my life changing and revelatory thought struck. I don’t remember how I asked, only for certain that I asked him, to be the next person who would break my pathological tick of fishlessness.
His final comment on the whole deal for the night was, “Fish at five.” Confirming the time of yesterday evening and I wasn’t late. I am still excited about the whole thing even though it has been several hours later.
Brown rice and steamed vegetables were the sides, a few hushpuppies, but they weren’t a focus. I couldn’t finish the whole piece, but I was able to get through two-thirds of it. My first several bites were unceremonious. Applying Turmeric and cayenne pepper was my go to. Not because the fish hit my pallet wrong, but because I wasn’t getting anything from its flavor. Swai, I gathered the fishy taste in this fillet is supposed to be mild, but I got nothin’. Perhaps my taste receptors for fish are so badly neglected that I couldn’t taste it. Happily, there was a single moment about halfway through the meal in which I savored the flavor and even let out a little moan with pleasure, and I held on to that moment through a few more bites really connecting with the meal. I did well until the last bite when my silly mind took over, my stomach began to turn.
I had to bail on the meal at this point, eating another hushpuppy and a half to calm my spinning tummy. The spinning went to my head a little bit. Confirming, in my opinion, this is all in my head. Nobody else looked even the least bit jacked up. All. In. My. Head.
I got through it. I will be devouring a different kind of fish soon. Suggestions or invitations are on the table from local readers. I will love fish someday in the not too distant future, and I want this win as bad as my MFA or quitting smoking.
I told my story to the room. Another dinner guest said, “I feel honored to be here.” Adding, “Most people wouldn’t have even tried.”
I told my therapists I would be the hardest working patient any of them have. I am telling everybody, I will learn to love fish with a mind so open you could drop a live marlin into it. That is all there is to it.
Something I love about myself is:
- My new, adventurous nature. I took the first step to defeating a phobia of eating fish (ichthyophbia: which is also just a fear of fish). I want to skydive. You want me to conquer it? I will try, assuming it won’t automatically kill me.
Thanks to the West Fork Municipal Library for hosting me today.