That’s why you’re so thin

Because of work, I am often around strangers during lunch time. Not complete strangers as usually we’ve spent the past few hours engaged in professional learning. But distant enough that they may ask me to repeat my first name or still mispronounce my last. Aside from 911, they wouldn’t know who to call in case of emergency. They have no idea I enjoy reading juvenile and young adult fiction.

In the course of the day I may have used my short distance running or Blue’s marathons as a way to explain something. I could have made reference to salsa dancing to shift the energy after a break. I probably mentioned kids I used to teach while demonstrating the various interactions between teacher and students. In other words, they think they know me.

But invariably, if I’m having lunch with or near one of these people, they will comment on my dietary choices and proclaim “that’s why you’re so thin.”

Plain salad. No onions, no cheese. Just the way I like it!
No onions, no cheese. Just the way I like it!

Today it was because I requested a salad with no dressing. “No dressing?!” exclaimed the astounded person. “THAT’S why you’re so thin!” As if I were keeping a secret. Never mind the “non-thin” things I eat that happen to be currently out of view. The key to it all (today) is the dressing.

The dressing thing gets a lot of attention, actually. Some people chalk it up to an amazing amount of discipline. “Wow! You eat your salads dry? That’s hard core. No wonder… ” {you know where this is going}.

Thing is, I like the taste of vegetables. Always have. My mother didn’t have to sneak me spinach. I asked for it. We grew cucumbers in the backyard and I ate them. When cabbage rolls were on the menu, I cheered. I like vegetables.

And, I dislike salad dressing!

I grew up the only child in the house. My mother liked French dressing. I found it atrocious. My father ate bleu cheese. Probably the worst thing I’ve tasted. Even worse than liver. So, if I wanted a “sauce” for my salads, it was one of those, or nothing. And since I liked vegetables, nothing was the right call!

Years of that and eventually I found out other dressings existed, but I didn’t go out of my way to experiment with them. Because why? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Now I won’t say I made it to 40 never tasting other salad dressings. I have, and I am okay with ranch and Italian. Oil and vinegar are also cool. Occasionally the juice from a lemon or lime might be a nice change. But it’s rare I’ll add them. And today was a day I opted for “the usual” to accompany my gumbo: small salad, no dressing.

Although I explained the dressing thing, the woman still gave me a look as though she knew better.

I shrugged and turned away to finished my lunch.