I parked my car in Bob’s driveway. He was walking home from somewhere, presumably church or a neighbors house. Nothing else was close by. It was a chilly night so he had a sweatshirt on and the hood covering his head. His balance wasn’t the best and he walked with a bias to his right side. Just before he began up the driveway, his arms flailed out re-balancing himself. I smiled thinking of when obi-wan kenobi flailed his arms scaring the sand people away from Luke.
I shrugged my shoulders, partly from being cold, and dismissing the the two images as coincidence.
“Next time you can let yourself in.” Bob said, deadpanned when he walked passed me to the door.
He never reached for his keys. I couldn’t believe it. In the thick of the city, he didn’t lock his door. I shuffled that thought away to think about for later.
“Go ahead and sit in the dining room.” He said as he puttered around in the kitchen.
I didn’t answer back but did what I was told. I stepped in the dining room, which was disheveled, papers stacked at the far side of the table. I noticed, at the other table in family room, it was littered with more paper, though they seemed to organize in a thoughtful pattern. In all of the clutter, there was an elegant place setting. Something that looked like from an era before busyness, a slower time before the internet, TV and other distractions. It had the proper plating, forks on the left side and knives on the right, while a tented napkin sat on the plate.
I sat down and waited. Every minute felt like 10, was I supposed to help or expect to be waited a upon. Well, I sat and waited as I didn’t have enough comfort with Bob to do anything else.
In reality, it only took 5 minutes from when I sat down that he set the dish on the table. A plate of bread was placed on the table and after he came back he set a bowl on the table. It had beans and vegetables mixed together.
Bob sat down. He locked his hands together and prayed. I followed along. I haven’t prayed at dinner since I was a kid and starting now just felt uncomfortable.
“What is it? it looks good.” I asked, hesitation in my voice. I really hope he didn’t pick up on that.
“It’s Garbanzo Bean Salad” Bob scooped a ladle full of the salad. He nodded his head at the bread. “It’s sourdough bread.”
I swear I felt like I was eating something Yoda would make on Dagobah. This food was so foreign to me that it might as well have been from a planet that was hard to find and remote. My meals are almost all meat based with a side a veggie’s. And those veggie’s were only because I felt like I had to eat them.
I dipped the ladle into the bean salad, probably getting half as much on the ladle as Bob, and his portion wasn’t big.
“What’s the matter? does it not taste good?” Bob asked in between spoonfuls.
He could tell I was timid as I hadn’t had a bite yet. “I’ve gotta say. I don’t eat stuff like this, well, never.” Then the first scoop entered my mouth. My taste buds sang to me, harmonizing perfect notes between sour and zesty. “This is good, really good.”
Bob pointed his fork at my dish. “The way you normally eat, that’s just your default mode. You’ll see what I mean.” Bob said.
I spooned out a bunch more but didn’t have so much that I looked like I was going nuts at someone else’s place.
“Have you always eaten like this?”
“No.” Bob sat back. “I found this.” Bob walked over and handed me a book.
The books title was The Blue Zones Solution
“What’s it about?” I asked.
“People living longer and ways that contribute to their longer life. 1 of the ways is food.”
“Do you still meat?”
He smiled as if the question were comical. “Yes. I’ve generally changed what I eat. Nothing extreme.” He nodded at the book. “How about you take it home with you. Read it and let me know what you find out.”
We talked for probably over a half hour more. The conversation waned after that. So I said, “I should get going home.”
At the door, he said. “I’ll see you here next week?”
“Absolutely.” I was so happy he invited me back. I didn’t know where this was going but I’d find out with the book in hand. I had some homework on what a Jedi eats.