The Hunger Games

As a teenager, I enjoyed spending as much time as possible in the Bookmobile. Mother, on the other hand, loved window shopping. She could spend hours slowly perusing each window in our downtown stores. If she took a fancy to something, she might venture in but not always.

To me it was a total and complete waste of time. I always thought if you needed something then you should shop, locate the item and buy it. Otherwise, it seemed futile and I resented spending time gawking at window displays with no intent of actually entering the store.

Mother also had a habit of “window shopping” in the refrigerator. Not at the grocery store, but at our home. She would open the door, peer in, move stuff around and then slam the door. This was often followed by a loud sigh and one of the most hated refrains my sister and I heard in our teen years:

I’m hungry for something. But I don’t know what it is.

TornadoWe knew this was a sign of trouble brewing. It either meant

that she was planning on eating something that she saw in the refrigerator days ago, but the item now was gone. Or it meant she would begin grazing secretively in the kitchen, trying to satisfy her out of control appetite.

Either way, we were screwed!

Cover of "The Hunger Games"Years later, my sister and I shared a laugh every time someone mentioned “The Hunger Games“; our mother had invented her own version of it quite some time ago. Once her eating cycle began, she was soon consuming everything in sight. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to quite hit the spot.

So she kept going. Once Mother was done, whatever edible items had been in the refrigerator were gone and any hope Abby and I had for scrounging up something to eat was equally destroyed.

Eating CycleMother’s hunger for just that one special morsel of food never seemed to be satisfied.

Later in life when my sister and I would decide to take her out to eat, we would ask with great trepidation

What are you hungry for?

What the hell were we thinking? A question like that was the kiss of death! Mother would say once again those dreaded words from our adolescence:

I don’t know.  I’m hungry but I don’t know exactly what I want.

And once again we found ourselves playing the sick little mind games she seemed to be perversely enjoy, as she hemmed and hawed about what exactly she wanted to eat. Finally we would say enough is enough. Usually it was our own hunger pangs screaming internally at us that enough was enough.

We would load Mother up and away we went to the restaurant of our choice. If she could not find something she liked, we turned the tables on her (figuratively) by pulling out of her other favorite phrases from our youth:

Well, you must not be very hungry!

You know that old saying, “What goes around, comes around”? Well, looks like that saying was made for this occasion.

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