The Beast has been exhibiting some unusual behaviour (for him) lately; he hasn’t been sleeping through the night, for instance. He’ll get up for a few hours and read, or watch his Shackleton mini-series. I only found this out a few days ago because I never wake up when he gets out of bed or comes back into bed. When I asked him why he thinks he’s having trouble sleeping, he used his index finger to point to his brain and said, “too many ideas.”
He also can’t be in a room without playing a record or a CD: let’s say he’s in the kitchen while I’m puttering about. He’ll put on some Klezmer music. Then he’ll think about a book that might be upstairs on his bedside table so he’ll go up there and put on some early American gospels. Then he’ll come back downstairs into the living room where he’ll play the slow march from Beethoven’s 7th symphony and he’ll think about the ten CD box set of the Music of Islam he purchased last week and come back into the kitchen to play some of that. So all this music might be playing in the house at one time. For the most part, I’ve learned to tune it all out–not because I don’t enjoy listening to music from all over the world; I just like listening to one piece a time.
He’s also, much to my surprise, taken an interest in fitness–it’s not nearly as extreme as my passion for athleticism mind you, but enough for me to raise my muscular arm and scratch my toned head.
On the phone yesterday afternoon:
Beast: Guess how many sit-ups I did today?
Foodie: I don’t know.
Foodie: That’s great!
Beast: No it isn’t–the average person should be able to do 60.
Foodie: Where are you getting these stats from?
Beast: From the internet! I’m on a new fitness program that I found. I’ll send you the link.
Foodie: What’s really going on here?
Beast: Do you know how much fucking pain I’m in after doing 25 sit-ups? And I don’t even know if I’m doing them correctly! What the fuck is a sit-up, anyway? Whatever I’m doing, it fucking hurts like hell. Hey, would you watch me do one when you get home and tell me if I’m doing it correctly? But you have to promise not to laugh.
Foodie: I can’t make that kind of promise but I will gladly watch you do sit-ups. Are we talking old school sit-ups? I can show you some other ways to approach your abdominals if you like.
Beast: NO. (Pause) Do you know how exhausted I am? I also did 60 push-ups.
Foodie: Are you fucking kidding me? That’s amazing!
Beast: Not all at once. I took breaks.
Foodie: Still, that’s really good. I bet I couldn’t do more than 5 in a row.
Beast: My muscles are trembling right now. It hurts to hold this phone to my ear.
Foodie: I have to go.
Foodie: Because I hate the phone and I’m at work.
Beast: I’m going to need a lot of food tonight now that I’m on a new fitness regiment. And will you pick me up some protein powder on your way home? I need to gain some muscle mass. What would you do if when you got home from work you found me dead from all the exercise I did today?
Foodie: I HAVE TO GO NOW!
Beast: I’m sending you an email with a document I made up today that records all the goals I want to achieve before my birthday in May.
Beast: And I’m also attaching a photo.
Foodie: What kind of photo?
Beast: It epitomizes the kind of summer I want to have. What are you bringing home for dinner?
Foodie: I rode my bike so how about I pick up some roti? Do you want me to go to Mother India or to Vena’s?
Beast: I’ve been thinking a lot about a mutter paneer roti from Mother India.
Foodie: Perfect–I’ll go there. I really have to go now.
By the time I finished work though, I’d changed my mind and went to Vena’s Roti instead. And as soon as I walked in the door back at home, I did what anyone in my shoes would have done: I marched upstairs, to where the Beast was listening to music, and asked him to do some sit-ups for me.
Foodie: I think you’re doing crunches.
Beast: I can’t even do a demonstration I’m in so much pain!
Foodie: Do you want me to show you some other ways to do them?
Beast: No. Did you bring me home my protein powder?
Foodie: No. But I got you your favourite roti from Vena’s.
The Beast, I think via his older brother Noah, got hooked on what I find to be the oddest combination of roti ingredients: mushrooms, potato and goat. He loves it.
I stick to Veggie: chickpeas, potatoes, yams, spinach and eggplant.
Beast: That was really delicious but don’t you find that you’re never quite as full after a Vena’s roti as you are after eating one from Mother India?
Foodie: Yes! I’m starving right now! I’m going to have a bowl of cereal. Do you want one?
Beast: That healthy cereal you bought?
Foodie: Yes, and how do you know about that?
Beast: Because I found it today and had a bowl.
Foodie: Was it any good?
Beast: It was okay.
While I went into the kitchen to prepare a bowl of cereal, the Beast paused Deadwood, which we’ve been watching all week, and put on a record–probably some Ornette Coleman–in order to pass the time, which was about 23 seconds.
Foodie: Did you eat a lot of cereal growing up?
Beast: I basically ate cereal every day until I moved in with you.
Foodie: I got really sick of cereal as a kid. But I think I might get into it again. I don’t like this stuff I got. It tastes–
Foodie: Yes! What’s odd is that it tastes like chemicals but it’s a really expensive health cereal. What kind should I buy next?
Beast: Captain Crunch, Life, Honeycombs, Honey Nut Cherrios, Apple Cinnamon Cherrios, Regular Cherrios, Shreddies.
Foodie: Wow. You really know you’re cereal. What about Raisin Bran?
Beast: Yuck! No raisins. And no Lucky Charms.
Foodie: I think I could eat cereal for dinner and be satisfied.
Beast: I think Deadwood may have the best writing of any show ever: Al Swearengen rivals any character from Shakespeare, and you know what? So does E. B. Farnum. It’s just incredible. INCREDIBLE. The music too is amazing, in every episode. Did you see my Jazz picture book? I know it was expensive to buy a book just filled with pictures but they just make me so happy to look at.
I think the Beast may have some anxieties over his upcoming 28th birthday and that’s why he’s acting like a psycho-idiot savant. I remember having a great deal of anxiety in my late twenties too: I didn’t have a career to speak of but I had a dozen or so things that I was interested in and I tried to do them all but ended up not excelling at a single one of them. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, yet the possibilities seemed limitless–it was paralyzing. It still is.