Here’s the situation last night: My good friend is home after nine years in Hong Kong. So I took a 3:30 train from Asbury Park up to Manhattan to grab dinner and a few drinks. While it’s not a long trip, NJ Transit has not updated their trains or their system since 1950, so the trip makes 87 stops and takes two hours. No worries…I had a large cup of coffee and a great, but disturbing, book so I was good to go. You may be wondering if I ate right before I left. Sort of. I had a light lunch at noon and then a PBJ on a rice cake around 2.
I arrive at Penn Station at 5:30, meet my friend and we just start walking south until we find a place that catches our eyes for a cocktail. We come across a Korean restaurant called Barn Joo Nomad that had a cool bar and in we went, sat at the bar and ordered two Serrano Margaritas (Serrano-infused tequila, agave, lime). Conversation flowed and our second drink was an Oaxaca Old Fashioned (818 Anejo tequila, agave, mezcal, orange bitters). The stomach started to rumble so we decided to grab a food menu and order up some nice Korean fare. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
While the menu was amazing, after asking questions about 7 different items on the menu (which I still hate doing by the way, even 11 years later), I wasn’t sure there was anything safe for me and I wasn’t about to risk it. My buddy was great and insisted we go somewhere else. But nothing close by looked appealing (or safe) and I loved the vibe of the place we were in. So what did I do? I ordered one more cocktail (back to the Serrano Margarita) and told my friend to order something so he could eat.
We continued the great conversation, he had a nice meal, and I had planned on catching a 9:20 train home. Unbeknownst to me, there was no 9:30 train home! There was an 8:22 train and the next train was 10:20. Did I mention how much NJ Transit sucks? I walked into my home at 12:30am.
So yeah…I went 10.5 hours without food. I watched my friend eat his dinner. And I came home starving. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Bad decisions can be made when you are hungry. But if I’ve learned anything over the past 11 years of having this crappy disease, skipping a meal is not the end of the world. Choosing to eat nothing at a restaurant instead of risking it is always the better call.
I hope you keep this in mind next time you are in a similar situation. Enjoy the company. Revel in the conversation. Savor the moment. Eventually, you’ll eat.
Speaking of Asbury Park, “Greetings from Asbury Park” was released 50 years ago today. If you haven’t seen this version of “Blinded by the Light”, enjoy: