I took The Man to meet Kieran, my old housemate. I love Kieran; I used to live with him. I love The Man, I now live with him. I thought we could share some chat about what a great person I am to live with: kind, funny, tidy: the sort of roomie you’d be really proud to introduce to your friends and family.
The waiter came over to take our order. It was breakfast; we were in a French restaurant. He spoke to us in French because no one in that restaurant ever talks to you in English. It wouldn’t even occur to them that a customer couldn’t speak French.
So I ordered an oeuf, because ‘oeuf’ one of the only French words I a) feel confident saying and b) enjoy saying. OEUF OEUF OEUF! The best word ever. Better than chuff or crinkle or rump, all of which rate highly for me. OEUF!
Kieran raised an eyebrow. “No steak tartare?”
I laughed breezily. “Whatchoo on about, roomie?” I asked him. “It’s breakfast time!”
Kieran laughed right back and started to tell The Man a story.
“My friends Sally and Pete came to stay with us one weekend and Lucy arrived in the kitchen. It was Saturday morning, probably about 9.30am. We were all hungover. Lucy said she was taking a load of clothes to the charity shop and would Sally like to have a look through them. Sally said yes. While she looked through them, she wrinkled her nose and said ‘is that beef I can smell?’ Anyway, Lucy ended up giving Sally a cashmere jumper that she still wears all the time. But every time she puts it on she pisses herself laughing as she remembers what Lucy did next.”
The Man was beginning to enjoy this story. “What did she do next?” he prompted.
Kieran started laughing and then suddenly he couldn’t stop. My heart sank. The Man, even though he didn’t know what was coming, laughed too because he knew that whatever was to follow would be lamentably stupid.
Eventually Kieran was able to stop laughing long enough to say “Lucy cooked herself a steak for breakfast. Steak and broccoli and brown rice. And then she ran off to her bedroom to eat it because she was too embarrassed to eat it in front of my friends. But then she came out and told them that she’d just eaten steak in her bedroom.”
At this point Kieran resumed laughing and he carried on until he pretty much wept. The Man loved it.
“Arrghhh,” I remarked sadly.
I tried to explain to The Man that at the time I was on a very strict diet because of a digestive disorder. He listened with one ear but it was too late; I was sunk. Him and Kieran started comparing notes and as they did so I realised I am the weirdest person in the world when it comes to food. Snippets from the conversation included
“…burger with RICE CAKES”
“…owns upwards of forty varieties of herbal tea”
“…used to tell me off for eating fish finger sandwiches”
“Me too! She says my fish finger sandwiches are the most nutritionally barren meal on earth!”
“…and have you seen the amount of supplements she takes? Shitting hell! It’s just plain weird!”
“Oh my God, when we flew into Mexico she got properly searched by a drugs woman with a sniffer dog and she had to produce a letter from her weird naturopath woman explaining what all the pills were. FFS!”
I have since contacted Sarah, who I lived with just before moving to Argentina and meeting The Man.
Sarah came back with this:
“Ah, yes Robinson. Chicken legs.”
“Er, could you clarify?” I asked, sighing heavily. A distant memory of that particular dietary fad was coming back to me.
“Yep. You used to bang on about how the ‘red’ meat on chicken is by far the best type of protein. For someone like you. Whatever that meant.”
“And when would you normally see me eating chicken legs?” I asked, wincing.
“Oh, mostly breakfast. But lunch and dinner too. You were often roasting chickens at eight in the morning. It filled the house with smoke because you never cleaned the oven.”
This was not so good. Had I ever been normal?
Then: a lightbulb. Surely before I started seeing naturopaths I ate like a normal person? I’ll text HT, I thought. She lived with me before all that nonsense began!
I texted HT: “If you were to sum up my eating habits in a few key words, what would they be?”
The response was quick. She clearly didn’t need to think about it.
“Hi Robinson. A high concentration of ingredients that can be made into something edible in five minutes at 10pm. With a smattering of beansprouts and the odd tofu cheesecake. Quite weird.”
I texted further back, to Kate.
“OMG I’d forgotten about your crazy eating habits! You were hilarious!”
I went back still further, to my Mum. “You and food… Oh dear. We had to put you on a diet when you were two. You wouldn’t stop eating.”
And there you have it. A lifetime of freakery. Once again, I present Lucy Robinson, terminally not-quite-right.
Here’s me trying to eat a chicken foot while in Mexico. Just in case you were tempted to post saying “oh no, don’t worry, I’m just the same as you, your food isn’t that weird!”