Woman With Sandwich

Jack is on an anti-psychotic med that makes him practically insatiable. I am not exaggerating when I say that he is always hungry. We knew this would happen when we started the drug, but it was either this or Jack beating people up in frustration every day. We chose the med and the increased appetite.

In the four months that he has taken it, Jack has gained about twenty pounds and also shot up and inch or two. He’s solid, but also a little jiggly around the middle. Nobody’s perfect.

His psychiatrist recently cut the afternoon dose in half, in an effort to see if Jack would be less hungry. He may be eating slightly less, but it’s hard to say. He still wants to eat practically all the time.

And who am I to judge, honestly? I like to eat constantly, too, and I’m not even on meds that amplify the problem.

All of this nonstop eating going on around me has reminded me of a trip we took to San Francisco years ago where we rode a ferry across the bay and saw the weirdest snacking behavior ever.

I was pregnant with Henry and feeling the double whammy of first trimester nausea plus seasickness, so Dutch and my parents and I stayed on the deck of the ferry where I could feel the spray and the wind on my face, and where I could focus both on the horizon and not vomiting.

My sisters and brother-in-law sat inside the ferry. A petite middle-aged woman with a large knapsack boarded the boat and sat on the bench facing my siblings. What follows is a TRUE STORY of what happened on the ride from Tiburon to San Francisco. My sisters totally swear to it. It’s an oral tradition rooted in the family lore.

As the boat pulled away from the dock, the woman on the ferry opened her knapsack and pulled out a series of apricots. She ate all of them, neatly disposing of the pits in a paper sack.

Next out of her bag were a couple of oversized heirloom tomatoes, which she ate in their entirety, like they were apples.

Then, she pulled out a knife and a cantaloupe. She sliced it into wedges, scooped the seeds into her paper sack, and ATE ALL OF IT, people. Because who doesn’t like to snack on whole cantaloupes after eating three pounds of produce? Sarah, my youngest sister, pondered later that “The farmers’ market is good, but THAT good?”

At this point, my sisters and BIL were watching this portable feast unfold with unabashed, open-mouthed interest. “What would be next?” they whispered to each other. The knapsack wasn’t empty and the tiny woman showed no sign of slowing down. What in the world was next?!

It was a pickle sandwich. A large, deli-sized one on thick slices of artisan bread. Pickles, you guys. They are my least favorite condiments, and this lady consumed a giant sandwich filled with them. It’s probably better that I was gazing at Alcatraz and NOT at the woman chewing the large pickle sandwich.

My family members began to connive means to snap surreptitious photos of Woman With Sandwich.

And she wasn’t finished. After inhaling her apricots and tomatoes, single-handedly destroying a cantaloupe, and sucking down a massive pickle sandwich, the woman on the Tiburon ferry tucked into a tin of cookies.

She ate all of them, naturally.


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