It hurts so good.
Going back to traveling by myself in Europe, I have become reacquainted with an old sin. The kebab. They are Europe’s version of our fast food hamburgers, and make me miss burritos oh so very much. Here’s a picture of one…but keep in mind, this is the official publicity version, so the relationship between it and the real thing is the same as the relationship between what’s on the menu at Burger Thing and what you actually receive, wrapped in greasy paper.
Basically, kebabs are the culinary equivalent of a trip to Las Vegas.
When you arrive you feel a certain guilty excitement. You know it’s not going to be good for you, and you hope the details never make it back to your family, but that guilty pleasure draws you on. Once it’s really in front of you the appearance of it all is kind of disgusting, but still appealing in that short-sighted way.
The first taste continues the reluctant enthusiasm. Yummy self destruction. But the pleasure is already starting to sour, and your awareness that you are making a big mistake grows. You go a little further still. Definitely a mistake. You kind of wish someone would come stop you, save you, but the ball is rolling, and you increasingly realize it is rolling right over the top of you.
The sheer sinful momentum carries you through it all. But it’s okay, right? Lots of people do this, and they survive. Right? You search for a moral compass. You don’t do this often. You could stop any time you want…
Finally it’s over and you stumble away. The armpits of your shirt are stiff with dried sweat you don’t remember feeling. Your pants have smears of shiny unnatural colors on them and you think you will just throw them away when you get home. You skin is pasty and pale, and your hands are damp and shaky. You feel an urge to pray.
98% of what’s functioning in your brain resolves to never do this again. But if you look through the blinds into the semi-secret office of the remaining 2% you’ll see that it is calculating how long to devote to recovery before you come back for more.