I had a conversation, well message exchange, this week that reminded me that my life is not quite normal. I guess that when you spend enough time doing something you forget that everybody else is not doing the same. This particular example was dietary habits but there are many more.
As you know I work away from home, at the least I am away Monday to Friday and sometimes longer. I have worked this way since before I had children, it’s my normal way of working and what I am used to. Living out of a bag is how the majority of my life is spent, not just odd weekends away, it’s just what o do. The thing is that the apartment which I call home is also a transient location in my head. I may have lived there for eight years but I rent it and don’t consider it to be permanent.
The apartment has no freezer and, even if I chose to add one, insufficient space for one. Whilst I am free to waste food you will appreciate that in reality my domestic environment restricts my diet. Now the conversation started around dinner, forgive me for forgetting why, which is a health shake. For those that think hotel residency revolves around the restaurant let me assure you that is only for visitors. For those of us that live in hotels restaurants are the places we go to entertain, if we have to.
Even the healthiest restaurant menu is not something that you want to be eating from 4 nights a week. Apart from not being healthy it is disconcerting when you know the full menu verbatim in a number of establishments. So for me dinner is a health shake and probably 6-8 cups of tea throughout the evening. But of course I have a cooked breakfast don’t I? Well no actually I don’t, I am not a breakfast person and always leave the hotel before breakfast.
I rarely have time to eat lunch and to be honest if I did I certainly don’t have the inclination. Occasionally I will add a packet of crisps to my weekday diet but, in the main, it consists of chocolate shake. The shake itself only originates from the accident and I consider it my nod to nutrition.
So I get home and eat for England right? Well no it’s actually not that simple. Grocery shopping on Friday is performed at a small local convenience store so choice is not huge. Anything fresh that is purchased on Friday must be consumed or discarded by end of sunday. My weekend diet will rotate around common carb themes. Arrabbiata and rice/pasta is good and mushroom risotto is a staple, meat and fish are oddly uncommon. I have no intention of being vegetarian it’s just that meat and fish are not often offered in packages that suit my lifestyle.
Part of this is efficiency, I love cooking but I hate inefficiency. Why would I use an oven to cook a roast that only I will eat? The inefficiency alone is enough to ruin the meal. Take away menus are banned from my apartment because they only get called into play when I’ve had a beer and always result in mornings full of regret. One unintentional consequence of this lifestyle is that I struggle to eat large portions of food nowadays. So if I go out to dinner with friends I am uncomfortable for days afterwards. The other consequence, also unintended, is that I have reverted to the new parent vacuum technique.
I struggle to keep food in the apartment which I guess is my subconscious telling me it all has to be gone by Sunday. Multi-pack snacks are a disaster and rarely get past the weekend but of course this takes the place of dinner and so I end up ‘grazing’ rather than eating. Of course, I know I’m not strange really and that there are many people that follow the ‘gav diet’ so I thought I would speak out so the other know that they are not alone.
One other point that I would like to cover today is children. Whilst I know that this subject will be contentious I believe that I am sufficiently qualified. Much is made of the gift of life that a mother gives a child and it is indeed a wondrous thing to see but I challenge the concept that it is always a gift. At the local level when mum is on welfare with no prospects then I am sorry that is not the gift of life, it’s selfish and mean to bring children into the world if you can’t support them.
Life takes many twists and turns and nobody can see the future but if your life is a mess and supported purely by welfare having never worked then getting pregnant is not wondrous. What you are doing is condemning your children to a tough start that no parent should want for their child. Often we hear of examples of children that ‘rise above it’ and of course they happen but go to any of the thousands of sink estates in the UK and you will see they are the exception and not the rule. If you cannot offer your child the best start in life, better than your own or at least as good then let’s be clear this is not the miracle of conception but simple laziness in contraception.
I would extend this further, since I am not against offending nations, to the so called developing world. I don’t care if you think condoms are from the devil and babies come from the stork if you cannot feed your mouth then shut your legs. You are not a developing country or a civilised one if you are breeding mouths that you cannot feed. The only difference between welfare Sharon in the UK and the christian aid poster girl in Africa is that charity is legally enforced in the UK (we call it welfare). This is why I don’t give to foreign charity, to do so is a crime against those poor children because their ‘parents’ won’t learn.
I’ve heard people say they will only support birth control charity but I don’t believe that works. We have proved categorically in the UK that unprotected sex is the preserve of the feckless and hopeless and only the hard working consider consequences. I know some wonderful parents, both fathers and mothers, that struggle to bring their children up. But for me one of the saddest things about so called civilised society is that we have lost the ability to criticise those that bring children into the world without a thought to their future.