The pizza guy doesn’t care if I hoover vacuum an entire pizza into my pie-hole. As long as I fork over the $13.45, I’m good. The summer after junior year I quit field hockey and rolled up to the corner pizza shop. It was a small dive place with a no-frills attitude. Upon entering there was a counter and direct view of the ovens without a single chair for customers.
Driving was a novelty then. With that fresh-car-smell came the power to buy and consume food anonymously. “One large to go,” I cooed to the scruffy beard across the counter.
Pizza, an old friend. As a child, I remember roller skating birthday parties ending with sizzling slices of tri-cheese topped pizza. Pizza is a cure-all. From the pain in your stomach after too many loops around the skating rink, to the pain of a relationship gone sour, and the inevitable meltdowns during midterms, Pizza is there.
Pulling into my driveway the excitement and torture of anticipation was palpable. My car filling with nuances of basil, fresh tomato sauce, and warm dough.
With one artful place of my index finger at the center of the triangle base, it gives way and fold into itself. Creamy webs of cheese provide an escape route for the river of grease pooling at the spine of the slice. As each grease laden tear drop falls I imagine the calories I am evading. This is my small consolation.
Like the aftermath of a storm, snow-like flour finds its way to my lap. Its chalky dust settles onto my pant legs in between the kneecap and the thigh. It is my white flag of surrender to the next jean size up. Eight mangled crusts sit piled like a fortress on my plate. They are equal parts gold medal and scarlet letter.
Pizza has this effect on me. I start by telling myself that I deserve every last bite. After all, why should I deprive myself of eating something that brings me so much pleasure? As a human with needs and desires, I have a right to pizza. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my pizza yen and will eat to my heart’s content.
My mercurial mind vacillates to the dark side. A picture of a pie chart enters my mind. Suddenly, I’ve become a statistic. If Shannon eats 100% of the pizza, then... Then what? I’m human? Then what? I have no control? What?! I’m going to get fat? Well, fine. Was eating the whole pizza necessary? Probably not. But, boy did it taste good.