One Friday night I was in the queue at McDonalds, gawking up at the menu board. Where are the caramel sundaes? Surely they still have the caramel sundaes!
I’d barely drank two inches of wine but that’s all it took. One minute I was there in the pub yapping away, and the next I was mumbling my goodbyes and heading for the Golden Arches in a trance. I could almost feel the ridges of the plastic cup in my hand, the flimsy spoon clonking against my teeth; the hot goo of the goods on my tongue.
I hadn’t eaten a Macca’s sundae for about five years – not because I’d gone all righteous and Spurlock about the place, but more that I’d cracked my thrice weekly habit and moved on to other vices. So it was strange that the swirly dessert popped into my head. It appeared right after a pang of panic and claustrophobia. Sometimes I still mildly freak out in social situations, and get an overwhelming urge to run and revert to hermit mode. On some level I still connect escape with food.
People talk about comfort eating or emotional eating but what about ZOMBIE EATING? I’ve found myself at the Cookie Table at work, staring down at the crumbs on my chest and thinking, What the hell happened there!? The feet and hands and mouth took over before the brain could make the connection between receiving the stressful email and grabbing the biscuits.
Other times I’ve been glassy-eyed in line at a coffee shop, fixated on the idea of my hand wrapped around a hot cardboard cup of overpriced beverage to soothe an undefined troubled feeling. Then I’ll take the first sip and come back to earth… Shit! What did I do that for!?
Back at McDonalds, I was jolted out of my reverie by the dulcet tones of a lady customer, "Arrriiiight hen, gis a Big Mac meal wi’ Diet Coke!"
I took in the spotty lad behind the till and the swaying drunks in the queue. Fark! How the bloody hell did I get here?
I left, walked home in the rain and watched telly.
Most times I have the ability to stop, tune in and realise I’m just stressed or anxious or bored or needing to pull a Greta Garbo – and therefore not shove something unnecessary in my gob. But sometimes I don’t even register that I’m feeling anything at all. It happens so fast and mindlessly that I don’t wake up in time.
Any other Zombies out there?
Note to self: Caramel sundaes are called toffee sundaes in the UK 🙂