I keep thinking about Pizza. Which is a weird thing to think about at quarter past ten on a Wednesday night, but here I am.
Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about pizza for a while now; at least three weeks. And it has nothing to do with wanting to eat it.
It was the year 2001, and I was 18. Fresh out of school, I spent my life either at Uni, at work (Dominos) or doing church stuff. I was a busy little beaver back then; always had something on the go, or something to do.
Honestly, not much has changed. I seem to function best when my life is full of lists. Or maybe I don’t? That might be the moral of this story.
Anyway, I can’t remember much of what had happened, but it was a Saturday night, and I was at a friend’s house. I don’t recall if we had been hanging out or I had done something for her, or what. It’s all a bit vague. I do remember though that I was feeling a bit stressed about everything. The combination of study and work was a new one, and I was struggling a little with the load of it all.
My friend, having no idea what to say to me, palmed me off to her dad, who listened to my tale, and then asked me one simple question: “When do you have any time for you?”
It stumped me, because for the very first time in my life, someone was asking me if there was anything I did that was ever just about me enjoying life. A weird question, no doubt, for most 18 year olds.
Sadly, I could think of nothing. My life was about my responsibilities and I was ok with that. I kind of thrived on that. Wasn’t that a good thing? Didn’t that make me kind of different and heroic? Yes maybe, but, as he pointed out, we were never made to be all work and no play.
There has to be a balance.
I left the house in my beaten up ford laser, wondering what to do with myself. It was clear I needed to have some fun, but what? It was after 10 o clock at night, and hardly the time to organise something with friends. (I wasn’t like most 18 year olds….)
Randomly, I decided to head to the video shop. I had a new lap top that played DVD’s (such a novelty!), and I hadn’t tried it out yet. I decided to hire a movie and watch it late at night. That would be daring!
Driving to the video store (remember when they had those?), I realised no movie experience would be complete without food, and I really wanted to try the new herb and garlic edge we had at work. Pizza, whilst something I loved, was also something I avoided due to its high calorie content. Especially late at night.
I called the store and put in my order; a mexican with the edge. It was the first time I was trying something spicy, but I wanted to give it a go. Little did I know that would be the beginning of a love story between me and jalapenos on a pizza. All thanks to that night.
I hired ‘Looking for Alibrandi,’ with no idea what it was about, apart from being based on a book, and then at 10:45 at night, I curled up on my bed with my new laptop, my fancy pizza, and a giddy sense of freedom. I was a responsible teen who didn’t stay up late, worked hard, and never ate food after 7 o clock. In one moment I was breaking all my rules, and it felt amazing.
I’ve been thinking about that night so frequently lately; remembering that responsible young adult and the way she looked at the world, and slightly proud that not much has changed about her in that respect. She still has her priorities right.
But I’ve also been thinking about that night, because that was the first moment someone made it ok for me to break my rules. Or to enjoy my life just for enjoyment sake, with no fear of self retribution. To revel in the moment. A movie and a pizza was all it took to bring rest and clarity to myself. A moment of unselfish self-indulgence.
And so, 12 years later, as a 30-year-old who still seems hell-bent on being the busy, responsible grown up, I sit on my laptop, at 10:45 at night, once again breaking my rules. There should be blog reading, or email responding, or even sleeping happening, but instead I sit here and write, enjoying this moment all to myself. Remembering the taste of rule breaking freedom
Thinking about pizza.