Don’t get me wrong. I’d like to eat with you. Whoever you are. It’s darn nice breaking bread with fellow humans. Only problem is that my mouth rejects the bread eating concept, unless its sopping wet (that eliminates most sandwiches).
Filling part of the space where my lower left jaw was is a temporary set of clip-on prosthetic teeth. Received this new item the day before I traveled to Colombia last week. They evidently take some getting used to. They are hard and uncomfortable, especially to chew. But it’s important to wear them so that there is pressure against the upper opposing teeth.
The more permanent option involves surgery (again) and not something I can consider until I’m recovered from the last operation — and I’m sure that things are under control.
But for now, eating with the new clip-on is not something I’m interested in. When chewing, the hardness of the platform digs into the skin/bone and actually hurts. I (think) I heard the doctor mention (as he was leaving the room) that I may be sore for a couple of weeks. Maybe. But I’d rather not show the grimace on my face in public while I’m masticating. As an aside, I remember my grandmother saying that a measure of your manners is how you eat when you are alone.
Twice this week I could not avoid eating lunch with others, both business lunches. Therefore, both times it meant secretly finding a way to take out the prosthetic. Eating (with effort). Washing my mouth out. Then putting it back in.
The other day was particularly challenging. I flew to Cali and met the owners of a family owned business. We worked all morning, then they took me to lunch to a restaurant they owned. They were proud of the restaurant and eager for my opinion of the food. I was hoping they had soup.
For starters they ordered homemade humus and pita bread. Our drinks still had not arrived. They kept pushing the humus to me and asking me to try. It was all I could do to choke and cough down small bites, but I needed water. Luckily I kept some in my bag. When they saw that I was drinking my own water, they laid a scolding onto the waiters for not having the drinks served yet.
During the rest of the meal (it seemed that) they stared at me wanting to know how each bite was. Fresh fish was served, but it wasn’t so soft and they thought it strange that I ate it with the humus I hadn’t eaten with the pita. It wasn’t so good with humus, but I didn’t want to offend them and ask for tarter sauce.
The lunch in Barranquilla was sort of the same. Luckily the fish there had plenty of sauce. They questioned why I didn’t touch the coconut rice and patacones (fried green plantains). Under normal circumstances, I would have gobbled everything down. Being that I’m my mother’s son, I simply said I was full. As we were on the coast, a toothpick had to serve as the mouth rinse. (i.e., don’t trust the bathroom water).
Bottom line, I’d really like to eat with you. Let’s find a place with the ideal meal. Soft (not overcooked) vegetables and fruits, served with natural fresh sauces made from vegetables, fruits, and herbs. That’s not asking so much is it? Guess I’ll be eating home alone.