Living with Rasputin

by Anne Bennett on February 17, 2011

Rasputin, probably right after dinner.

It’s been nearly 48 hours since my last Diet Coke and I’m surprised at how calm I feel. No jitters, no withdrawal symptoms, just a faint, persistent longing, a sense that something is missing from my daily routine. I even feel, shall I say, slightly sad?

You’re probably thinking that I quit Diet Coke because of recent studies that point to a possible link between the consumption of diet drinks and strokes.

That would be giving me far too much credit. No, I’m dry because of my current circumstances: I’m in Sacramento visiting my best friend, Michael, and to say that his kitchen is stocked with only the essentials is a euphemism. He lives, and eats, like a monk. (Note: I don’t know any monks personally, but I imagine that they live exactly like Michael, with the exception that they wear dresses and they pray way more than he does.)

As fate would have it, when Michael stopped by a Walgreen’s so that I could run in to buy a 20-oz. bottle, they were sold out. Now, I’m not prone to believing in “signs”, but this was too blatant for me to ignore. I was living with Rasputin, and his anti-Diet-Coke powers had overtaken me. Indeed, his monastic existence had become, for the time being, my existence as well.

Michael’s pantry is stocked thusly: dog food (lots of it, in multiple varieties, for his 5-lb. dog, Moose), bulk oatmeal, a few cans of chicken broth, tiny containers of seeds and nuts, one onion, and very little else.

His refrigerator is no less spartan: the vegetable drawer is the only compartment that’s full. (I know what you’re thinking. You hate him.) Top that off with a 10-lb. bag of Costco chicken breasts in the freezer, some Compari tomatoes and a bunch of bananas on the counter, and you’ve pretty much got an idea of how he eats all the time.

He had to borrow a zip-lock baggie of brown sugar from his sister so that I could have brown sugar with my oatmeal. No kidding.

See why I miss my Diet Coke so little? I’m being deprived of almost all the daily pseudo-foods I eat at home. Diet Coke is way down on the list of foods I miss.

Oh, did I mention that Michael has no TV? Three years ago he decided to try living without one and finds that it enhances his monasticity. (For the record, that’s not a real word. It’s my blog.)

And yet, there’s something about this that I like. I am eating virtuously: last night for dinner we had wine, chicken, steamed broccoli, a spinach salad and a baked apple. What’s not to love?

OK, so there was no ice cream; Michael admits that he succumbs occasionally and buys a half-gallon, but only when his favorite brand is on sale for less than $3.00. That’s how he manages his cravings, he says. It doesn’t go on sale very often.

I’m feeling downright self-righteous. And with all my former TV time freed up, I’m even reading more. Sounds like a win-win situation all around, doesn’t it?

(P.S. Michael is loaning me his car this afternoon and I’m making a bee-line for another, better stocked, Walgreen’s. What Rasputin doesn’t know won’t hurt him.)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie Snook February 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Love it!!!! Enjoy the soda! Oh and I think this really was good to hear for me. I could relish and appreciate the indulgences every once in a while instead of letting them beat me to death w/my overindulgence! Thanks Ann enjoy your visit!

lin February 20, 2011 at 7:31 am

I’m thinking I need a week with Rasputin; maybe he should take in Weight Watcher’s needing a little austerity in the kitchen. No junk food or television has it’s own rewards (as I sit here watching a show on the cooking channel about desserts.) Hope it’s been a great vacation for you.

Joyce February 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

OMG!! Anne without Diet Coke. This is wrong on SO MANY levels. ; )

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