Are you at the edge of your seat yet? I know that a carb loaded dinner after an exhausting workout is hardly noteworthy, blogworthy or even Twitter worthy. But it was actually very thrilling, at least for me. I don't get out much.
As I ate my bagel, alternating between listening and jumping into the conversational fray and in general , I kept flashing back to similar scenes from Dvora: the College Years.
Back then, I had been a member of the club gymnastics team and after practice we often went for food. While my teammates proceeded to order and eat 1/10 of their body weight, I enjoyed a Diet Coke, the gymnast meal of champions. If it was especially late, I'd choose caffeine free DC, or as my cousin likes to call it, brown water.
The reason for my anorexic selection- kashrut. Aside from kosher dining, there was no place on campus to buy rabbinically supervised food. Though I tried to insert myself into the conversation in between sips of my liquid dinner, I always felt a little left out. At the time, I had no idea why.
Many of my friends (and certainly most of my family) believe that I've "rebelled" in the ways I have because I enjoy being controversial and heretical, and they're right to a point. I do get a giggle out of pointing out the absurdity and hypocrisy of Orthodox Judaism. I enjoy using my extensive Jewish legal, biblical and Talmudic knowledge for laughs.
But I'm not like the Seinfeld dentist who converted to Judaism just for the jokes. I did not become less observant just to be snarkier and more outrageous. I did it for the bagel. I started down this road, one that has led me from eating in only kosher restaurants to only vegan restaurants, then only vegetarian restaurants, to mostly vegetarian establishments to vegetarian food in any spot, so that I could become part of different communities. I want to be able to break bread or even a bagel with anyone, anywhere and anytime.
(Of course, I could always suggest a kosher spot to eat. But sometimes you don't want to go to 72nd Street or Midtown or Brooklyn to be served by rude Israelis in a restaurant whose decor, attitude and atmosphere all seem to be saying (in an exasperated tone)- "We're kosher. Isn't that enough for you?")