As a bowl of tomato soup rumbles in lazy circles inside the microwave, a grilled cheese sandwich sizzles delightfully in the frying pan.
It is my lunch.
Across the house, my wife looks up from her novel and sniffs the air like a cat.
“Ooooh,” she says, “can I have a just a tiny bit?”
“I asked if you wanted lunch,” I say, “and you said no.”
“I don’t want a whole sandwich,” she says, “just a bit of yours.”
It was I who wanted a whole sandwich.
“And the soup?” I ask.
“Just a little,” she says.
I doubt I have enjoyed the whole of anything since the day we met. I remember on one of our first dates when she reached across the table and deftly snatched a french fry off my tray. Several of my siblings have almost lost limbs trying that – but love being what it is she was spared.
The next time I told the clerk to supersize my fries.
“Don’t do that!” she exclaimed, “have you any idea how much salt and grease go into fries?”
I did – but I didn’t anticipate eating the whole thing.
Back then, all this was endearing. Now, not so much.
It is not that I mind sharing, nor do I mind cooking for her. It is just that it is nice to know in advance how much of what I make I get to eat.
As I gazed longingly on the sandwich, dwelling upon all of its wholesome wholeness, I pondered these questions. Have you ever wondered why a slice of bread is the size it is, or why Kraft Singles have the dimension that they do?
The good people of the food industry have invested vast fortunes and devoted eons of time to the science getting portions just right. They didn’t do this for selfish reasons, instead they had us, the consumers, in mind and their goal was to precisely apply the Goldilocks rule. Never too much and never too little.
They even took into account spouses who snatch things off their partner’s plate. It is why they invented supersizing.
But alas, none of that was doing me any good.
I fell back on an old ploy. “Aren’t you dieting?”
“That’s why I only want a bit,” she claims.
“I hoped to eat the whole thing.”
“You shouldn’t,” she says.
I just stare.
“You could diet too?” she adds. It is an old ploy she falls back on.
So I cut her off a quarter of the sandwich and pour a ladle of soup into a separate bowl. These I set out on the kitchen island.
A few moments later.
“Could you cut me off a little more of that sandwich?”
“And the soup?”
“Why thank you.”
“What are you doing?” she asks.
“Making more soup and another sandwich.”
“Don’t do that!” she exclaims, “you really need to watch how much you eat.”
How do I say what I really want to say?
Let me count the ways.