I’m pretty accommodating, it turns out.
Just this past week, my friend came to visit me from Ohio as part of a larger trip to the Bay Area. Before she came, I was sure to clean as much as I could, especially in the common areas and where she would be sleeping — by this, I mean, the living room.
I also tried to stock my refrigerator and pantry with a bunch of gluten-free food (because that’s what she eats). And I even cooked some meals ahead of time so we could spend more time together (and less time cooking).
The experience of having someone over — and not just someone, but a best friend whom I hadn’t seen in years — was emotional and enlightening. Yes, we had a great time visiting wineries (my first since moving here), taking hikes and hitting up San Francisco, but it was challenging, too (and not just on my feet).
I felt like I had to be ON all the time — ready to entertain, ready to give whatever was needed of me. I didn’t really express any interest in one direction or another when we were making plans because I wanted to make sure that she was getting to do everything she wanted (I do live here now, after all). And it seemed that I was endlessly doing dishes, picking things up from the store, and waking up early.
And I really don’t mind any of it. But, aside from my former mother-in-law who always made sure there was some sugary cereal for me to eat at her house and the very welcoming family I stayed with in Malaysia, I don’t think I’ve ever received such thoughtful accommodations. I may be wrong, but at least in my case, it seems like people don’t take having guests very seriously anymore (this feels like it could be an old-fashioned concept. Is it?).
When I visit people, I usually feel like I’m invading their home, so I try to react to them appropriately. If they seem like they want to hang out in their living room all night, I will stay up with them. If they go to bed earlier than I’m used to, I’ll try to be quiet as I scroll through articles on my dimly lit phone. If they eat granola for breakfast, I guess I do, too. Almond milk … not usually, but today? Sure!
But I’m not just like that when I’m visiting someone — I’m like that when they’re visiting me. Does that mean I’m like this all the time? And is that OK?
Thinking about my daily life — I think I am like this, particularly with food.
I pretty much don’t buy or cook anything unless I think my boyfriend is going to eat it (and like it). He says he isn’t picky and that he will eat anything (but he doesn’t like asparagus, grapefruit, mustard, steak, goat cheese, yogurt and who knows what else).
When I was married, my husband (an enlisted Marine at the time) bounced from one diet to another. In solidarity, I not only participated in these diets, but cooked most of the paleo, gluten-free, flat-belly, insert-other-fad-diets-here meals. I even limited my Taco Bell intake at his request. (Background: I love Taco Bell, a lot.)
Even as a teenager, I stopped eating pork (one of my favorites and a staple of the Italian hoagie) for my boyfriend, who was Muslim. It wasn’t until we were breaking up that I devoured piggy-filled sandwiches in front of him, daring him to “kiss me anyway,” the ham still in my mouth. (What can I say, I’m a lady.)
What’s the point of all this, you ask? A free therapy session for me (thanks!) and a message to you: Yes, Taco Bell may be unhealthy, but if you love it, don’t give it up for someone else.
Oh, and, when I visit you, can you please be sure to have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch for me?