by Scott Wilson on 07/03/14 at 10:54 pm
What is it about living on land that makes us fat?
I’ve written before about how easy it is to get flabby when out cruising, but that was at least partly tongue-in-cheek. In reality, I tend to drop pounds when we’re on the boat, although I’m not really sure why. Conversely, I am not really sure why it is that I pack on the pounds when living ashore for any length of time.
Mandy and I are wrapping up a month of house-sitting, taking care of two wayward pugs for some friends who have jetted off to Southeast Asia for a while, and I sit here bloated and burping now watching Wheel of Fortune on their big-screen TV, reflecting on the possible causes for the sudden expansion of my midriff.
I always imagine that being on land is going to improve my general conditioning; there are more places to go, more area to move around in, space to exercise. Throw in the dogs, who like to have a walk now and again, and the fact that this particular house is at the base of a hill a hundred stair steps away from the street, and you would think that I’d be shedding pounds like crazy.
But the opposite has happened and I am left wondering: is it the TV? We don’t have one on board and what we watch we stream over the Internet, rarely. It’s been a treat to have a big screen high-def set during the Winter Olympics and Oscars this year (and I have developed an addiction now to “True Detective,” as has Mandy to “Downton Abbey”) but perhaps the lethargy that comes from sitting and staring at the screen has depressed my metabolism to hibernation levels.
Or maybe it’s the full kitchen. Mandy has gone a little crazy with the cooking now that she has an electric oven, all kinds of counter space, appliances, and a five-burner stove at her disposal. And she’s gotten pretty good at it. Cheese, eggs, heavy cream, pasta… I suppose those can add up. We had pretty much abolished pasta from the boat menu this winter to keep the humidity down, so maybe we went a little overboard here.
Speaking of kitchen appliances, maybe it was the microwave. We don’t have one on board, and it is still a bit of a mysterious luxury to put a bit of food into a metal box, push a few buttons, and have it emerge hot and delectable in mere seconds.
Then there is the opposite of the microwave, the freezer. Our icebox on board keeps cold enough, but freeze things, it does not… which makes ice cream a rare and fleeting treat. Here, it’s pretty much on-demand, and oh, boy, is there demand. With chocolate sauce and whipped cream, frequently.
And if you combine the freezer and the full-size oven, what you get is pizza… whenever you want it, and loaded with toppings.
There’s also a toaster, which practically begs to be loaded up with my childhood sweetheart, Pop Tarts, not to mention my more mature and worldly mistress, Toaster Strudel.
Of course, Americans are famously fat, and there don’t seem to be any particular trends dividing the seagoing from the landlubbers. In fact, I saw recently that Montana is the slimmest state… and also among the most land-locked. And I have passed a few folks out on the floats wide enough to make you grab for a piling so’s not to be forced off the edge of the dock. So it’s not shoreside living in general, apparently, it’s just me.
I suppose it could just be a general lack of willpower. Notwithstanding the frequency with which people who claim to know me tell me I’m stubborn, it’s possible that I just don’t have the degree of discipline necessary to regulate myself in the relative freedom and prosperity of a house. Perhaps I’ve fallen to excess without the confines of the tiny floating world to restrain me.
On board a boat, restrictions come with the territory–a certain order to everything, necessary limits to resources which force one to consider the details of the life one lives at an intimate level unnecessary in the first-world home.
Whatever it is, I’m ready to be done with it, and squeeze back aboard my tiny 36’ sailboat. Fortunately, fat floats.
Hang on—I think my Pop Tarts just popped up out of the toaster. I’ve got to go.
It is definitely the full kitchen.