I LOVE free food. Not just a little. I love free food to a degree that makes people stare at me strangely. I’m the one at the grocery store who goes back for a third round of free samples. I’m the one at the party who always says yes to taking leftovers. I’m the one at work who will always, ALWAYS take whatever edible food is left behind before it goes to waste. Considering what a picky eater I was as a child, my parents are either laughing or crying at this point.
Of course before I could fully understand the joy of complimentary cuisine, I had to experience paying for it on my own for a while. Surely I must have realized as a kid that my Mom was paying real money at the grocery store. But my parents worked hard, we were blessed, and there was never a moment in my life when my needs were not provided for.
My wants, now that was a different story. A bike, a drumset, a class ring – I knew those things cost money because I had to wait to get them as a present for Christmas or my birthday. No average kid wants clothes for Christmas cause they can get those anytime – but no adult will turn down clothes (they like) because that’s one less thing they have to buy. Growing up I took it for granted that if I truly needed something, I could have it.
I got a glimpse in college but it wasn’t really until I was on my own that I fully understood: food cost just the same as the latest season of The West Wing even though only one is necessary to my survival. I realize this means I was very blessed/sheltered as a kid, and I am grateful.
But back to the free food. Now that I do spend entirely too much money on sustenance, both at restaurants and the grocery store, there’s just nothing like enjoying something delicious that you know cost you absolutely nothing. I understand the concept behind the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” but frankly I think it’s a dumb metaphor because there IS such a thing as a free lunch. It’s called when your boss hosts a dozen clients at your office and they decide to go out for lunch instead of eating the sandwiches catered from Corner Bakery. Two days in a row. Just look at this fridge:
Ain’t that a thing of beauty? You probably didn’t notice at the bottom there but besides two dozen deli sandwiches, salad, and chips, this free feast also includes two 12-packs of Diet Coke. Oh yeah. So far I have had a free dinner Wednesday, a free lunch Thursday, and a free dinner Thursday. I’m already looking forward to a free lunch and dinner tomorrow. All our local homeless friends in Chinatown are also eating well this week. This is almost as good as when my sister was here!