(Moment2Moment…A Moment Lived on February 2nd, 2017)
So I’m eating a sushi roll at the Whole Foods by Union Square. Two seats down from me are two men eating pizza- chewing with their mouth open, just loud. OH. SO. LOUD. My nervous system starts tightening up. I feel an urge to claim another seat. For whatever reason, I resist. I stay put. Relaxing into this ever obnoxious sound…
(I kid you not ….#yogamademedoit).
And in that moment of (semi-deep) breaths I look at the people at a table across from me. It’s a diverse crowd. Chatting. A foreign language stands out. And I observe their chewing. A woman takes a spoonful of her soup. Some of it drips out of her mouth. Another woman bites into something. She catches me looking. I quickly look away. (I promise I’m not staring. It all happens in two seconds). And I find myself surprised, as many many other times, by how peculiar and weird it is to be human.
My mind wonders. “Who was the genius that first said, ‘You are not to eat this way. Chew with your mouth closed. Or it’s Bad Manners’?” Then the images of refugees I’ve seen posted on social media pop into my mind. People going cold and hungry right now. “What a fucking obnoxious luxury I’ve lived with all my life,” the mind exclaims. This luxury to call something “bad manners,” be immediately annoyed, pass judgment. Turn around. So quick with “Yuck” and “Ugh.”
My mind retrieves a memory of the play I saw last night. Everybody. Urging us to live an examined life. That, when all is said and done, only love and all the shitty things we’ve done in our life go with us when we meet God. So pay attention. Value what matters while we’re still alive. Care. Be good. Don’t be shitty.
“So like,” my mind chatters, “don’t be dismissive without giving things a second thought. I’m eating a sushi roll with my hands. Maybe that’s a huge no no. Who knows! And, honestly, who. the. fuck. cares. I wonder if Japanese people think it’s ok to have philadephia in a sushi roll? Oh! The men are leaving.”
Here’s the truth. Will my nervous system ever NOT be bothered by the sound of loud chewing and a loud belch? Honestly? Probably not.
But this I know now. It will be a conscious choice next time to find another spot. Not because “they” are gross. Not as an automatic judgy response. Not out of blind obedience to a social rule someone once made up. I will first check in to see whether I’m being the obnoxious one. It only takes about five seconds, five minutes tops.