The husband noted that the refrigerator was bare again today.
He then noted that I had been awake a lot the night before.
He then came close to fulfilling some latent death wish by saying, “Have you ever considered that you might be one of those people who gets up and eats in the night without remembering it?”
I struggled to find a snappy comeback, but snappy is hard to come by when you’ve been awake most of the night.
I do have nights when I am awake a lot. In fact, I have so many that when an older man at church, a happily married man, mentioned that he’d been awake once an hour every hour the night before, I blurted out, “Call me!” Inappropriate, yes, but we insomniacs are desperate to know we’re not alone.
That said, there is a reason we often have little food in the refrigerator and it is not because I have been grazing my way from the top shelf to the bottom crisper drawer in some state of semiconsciousness.
The refrigerator is often bare because we are in a rarely talked about phase of life that follows the Empty Nest phase of life. It is the “There’s-Nothing-to-Eat” phase of life.
It is a well-known fact that Old Mother Hubbard did not write that ditty about her cupboard being bare until after all her kids had left home.
When our kids were home, there were always three jugs of milk in the fridge, leftover chicken, a pasta something or other, two pizza boxes, fresh vegetables and fruit galore. Today, we open the fridge and often are blinded by the glare of the light bulb.
My primary reason for opening the refrigerator is to check expiration dates and see what has gone bad. The job doesn’t take long when there’s not much in there.
Of course, when the kids, the kids’ spouses and the kids’ kids come over, there is plenty of food. The table will groan under the weight of all the food. And then when we are finished and there are tons of leftovers, I wrap ’em, pack ’em, seal ’em and send it all home with the kids.
“Let me just pack this up for you. It will be perfect for your lunches next week.”
The husband agrees saying, “Take it, take it; it will just go bad here.”
“We insist,” I say. “You look thin. Have you had red meat lately?” If they still resist, we follow them out to the driveway, shove food through cracks in their car windows and wave goodbye.
If I succeed at doing a better job of stocking the fridge for two, or holding onto some leftovers, and a bounty of wonderful things appear, I will most definitely get out of bed at 2 a.m. to eat. Why not? I’ll probably be awake.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Email her at email@example.com.