Day 4: “At 1 o’clock pizza will be delivered to the venue”

1

May 10, 2012 by Mark B

This close. I was this close to cracking.

Today was an off-site day for my team at work, and in LBL terms it was torture. The day itself, I have to stress, was great fun, but I was surrounded by delicious temptation all the while.

We were at one of those venues where everything is on tap and readily available. I walked in to find my colleagues enjoying freshly-brewed coffee with a selection of non-shit biscuits (I tried not to look too hard, but I’m 90% certain there were Boasters on the biscuit plate. God’s own biscuit, just sitting there begging to be eaten.) There were cans of popular branded soft drinks littered about the place, and the hiss of a Coke can opening becomes a mouthwatering sound after 4 days of plain old H2O.

I successfully avoided the temptation of the biscuit plate by furiously masticating my breakfast apple, which took my mind off the food.

Worse was to come.

During the introduction to the day, we had an agenda slide which let us know what was in store. I didn’t read any of it apart from the one line I immediately clocked and could not take my eyes off. There it was, big bold letters:

“1.00 – Pizza will be delivered to the venue”

That was a real punch in the gut.

It didn’t get any easier. To get some inspiration we decided on a store visit and toddled off to the nearest Tesco. Whilst we failed to find much inspiration we did find a large array of snacks and biscuits which then made there way back to our working table. So I had those sitting there looking at me all morning, beckoning me with their salty, crispy goodness.

I should also confess that my boss found 20p on the ground on the way to Tesco, gave it to me and I spent it on two Freddos. They were heavenly.

I’d do it again, too. I felt a tiny bit like Charlie Bucket, and he’s the fictional epitome of living below the line. He had no qualms about splurging cash he found on chocolate. so I have decided not to show any remorse either. Plus I’ve got loads of unspent budget based on how much I’ve actually consumed so far, so it’s all fine.

Frankly I’m just trying to justify it to myself. It isn’t working.

When we got back to the venue it was almost lunchtime. I didn’t mention it to the others but I smelt lunch arrive before they knew it was here. I could taste Domino’s on the breeze. When people eventually went downstairs to fuel up I had to stay upstairs alone for a few minutes eating my value peanut butter sandwich and pondering the big questions in life, which today was “WHY AM I DOING THIS?”

I managed to avoid cracking, though. With a firm concentration on the blank wall at the back of the room and a few glasses of water to fill the space I shut out the fact that everyone was stood around enjoying delicious cheesy goodness.

Long story short, I got to the end of the day without properly breaking. Go me.

You might guess, I’m not in a great mood tonight. This happens. Yesterday I was on top of the world, today I’m glum as can be. I’ve noticed something else, too. At the moment the stuff I’m eating doesn’t give me any real boost. Instead of enjoying food as part of my life, food has now become my life. And now it’s not so much in a covetous, lustful way, it’s a completely pragmatic exercise. The question that runs through my head all day is “When am I getting my top up?” Eating has gone from an enjoyable aspect of my day to a grim refueling task. When I do eat, I don’t feel pleased or satisfied, I just feel sustained. It’s just there to keep me going.

For me, food has always been an inherently pleasurable aspect of life. Before this I couldn’t honestly conceive of it being otherwise. But at the moment I don’t look forward to eating, I just know it has to be done. I don’t even get particularly hungry, and the “I’m going to eat an entire cow when this is over” attitude has gone. I’m now not particularly fussed.

Saps the soul a bit, this challenge. Makes the world a little less brighter. And I’m lucky that I can switch off at any time and go back to normal. For a quarter of the world, this is it. This is every day, no questions, no moaning on silly little blogs, nothing.

Scary thought.

Well, this has all got a bit sombre eh? I’ve had some more donors, and a huge thanks to them and to everyone for your continuing support. I’m going to hold off on doing the fanfare bit tonight as I don’t think I can do it justice. I’ll try and be in a better mood tomorrow so I can say a proper thankyou.

The link for any more donations, as you probably know by now, is:

https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/sparky205

Cheers.

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One thought on “Day 4: “At 1 o’clock pizza will be delivered to the venue”

  1. Sara Gill says:

    Hi
    Just wanted to say thanks for your brilliant blog – some workmates and I are doing the LBTL challenge this week too and it is so much harder than any of us expected!
    This blog has given us all a chuckle at our own miserable expense as we can definitely relate to a lot of your experiences – in particular food dreams, exhaustion and wanting to hurt people for having the audacity to eat nice food in our presence.
    Good luck for the final hurdle – only 13 and a bit hours to go!!
    Sara, Leeds
    (https://www.livebelowtheline.com/team/student-advice)

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