One of our pals has a car, and the venue was a long way out of town, so that helped plenty. The guy had said to be there at about 1pm, so we set off at 1pm. It was mostly due to circumstances beyond our control, but we were soon zooming towards the promised land. And then we encountered every anxious traveller's nightmare, traffic jam. It was arguably the most painful 30 or so minutes of our day. Arguably.
After customarily getting lost, confused, calling host a few times to ascertain coordinates, we finally made it. And at first, the sight of empty tables in the compound was a cause for concern. But our fears were allayed when our host walked towards us with such spring in his step, we could not have mistaken him from a satisfied man. We did a round of greetings to the inhabitants and fellow guests of the home. And then we got seated and started making food-themed threats and jokes. One guy promised to give the food the most epic beatdown we'd ever witnessed. Another guy said threats are nothing. For him he was going to clear 3 rounds. Another guy boasted of having multi-tier storage in his stomach. The bovine references came flying in fast and heavy.
We didn't wait too long. The two hours passed by rather quickly, and finally it was time to get to business. Now, there's something very strange that happens whenever I'm at the start of a buffet-like setting, when I hold my plate. The food dishes seem to be many, and everything looks appetizing. I feel like I want it all. The inner voice tells me, "Dude, be easy and first focus on the essentials." And I respond, "Wah... I gat dis! Don't you remember how easily I cleared two heaped plates last time?" The inner voice shrugs and steps aside, for it is not very argumentative. I gleefully heap my plate with almost everything, but in varying quantities. There's only so much rice I'm going to allow to get into the space of my meats. As I leave the serving area, I notice a smile of approval on the host's face. Looks like I'm representing properly.
We all get seated and engage in friendly banter and purposeful mastication. The stories around the table have no specific direction, but everyone seems to be following nonetheless. 20 minutes later, it starts to fall apart at the seams. The once juicy looking chicken thigh starts looking more like a nuisance on your almost empty plate. And you also notice that there remain no traces of the rice and irish potatoes. You stare at the plate and question your priorities. The threats of going for a second helping have faded into embarrassing reminders of one's own horn tooting. After mustering the courage of a hundred Spartan warriors, the plate is eventually all but cleared. There remains the offending piece of meat, but there is nothing more I can do about it. I let it slide. It shouldn't hurt my resume that much. I try to do my customary post-meal stretch, and realize that I'm in trouble. The stretches are painful. I try to sigh, but it seems as though I'm filled up to the top of my throat. Means I can no longer laugh. The fruits and juice come, but I barely even eat those. I concentrate my remaining energy on being dormant. Of course, the guys laugh. Those who can, at least, for I'm not alone in this dilemma. The table talk dies down a little and I figure everyone's trying their best not to move about much. Digestion is a delicate process, and needs not be interrupted without good cause.
After what felt like several hours, life starts returning to the table. And then the guy with the car states his intent to leave shortly, seeing as he's pretty much recovered enough to drive. The only thought in my mind at the time is getting home, falling into the warm embrace of my (presumably empty) bed, and sleeping off while the massive digestion continues. After an unusually long session of bidding farewell, I waddle towards the car. There is no spring to be found in my step. None whatsoever. The time between sitting in the car and getting home is one big blur, filled with obligatory movements and punctuated by strange visions. I survived that encounter. It was below par, by my standards, but a formidable performance according to the friends who witnessed the whole thing.
I have since fully recovered from that outing, and now that another Idd is around the corner, I'm pumped up and ready to go. And this time, the food beatdown will be epic! The likes of which have never been seen before. (Note to self: Avoid tight fitting shirts this time.)
Happy Idd in advance, to all my Muslim friends.