The quietest foods.

Dear Aunt Milly,

I was having a conversation the other day with some friends about what might be the quietest food. This conversation came about because as you know, lately I’ve been watching a lot of television with Mum whenever I visit and, unlike a lot of older people, she’s got incredibly good hearing. I mean, seriously, you can’t get away with anything. If you’re running water while brushing your teeth, she knows. I’ve often sat in my room and read a book and she’s knocked on the door. ‘You’re reading again, aren’t you? I can hear the pages turning’. The upshot of this is that she has the sound on the television turned down quite low indeed, which means that you can’t hear a thing if you’re eating, for example, crisps. So you have to wait either for an advert break and down a whole packet as quickly as you can, or opt for a quieter food or snack.

(Seriously. Perhaps she thinks she’s saving electricity by having the sound turned down so low).

The general consensus had it that the quietest foods were probably egg mayonnaise sandwiches, bananas and marshmallows. Someone suggested ice cream and while this indeed may be one of the quieter food stuffs at is molecular level, those with sensitive teeth are prone to making ‘Hurrr . . .hurrrr’ noises. At, you might say, the molarCular level. Yogurt, too, got a favourable mention, though some brands lead to a certain slurping and a persistent scraping of the pot. And then the conversation moved on to noisy eaters, and this in turn led me to thinking about Stinker.

Stinker is a very loud eater. I don’t know if you ever met him, he kind of looks like a surprised ferret. A surprised ferret who’s also a bit constipated. No matter what Stinker sticks in his gob, everyone else gets to listen. Every motion of his mouth, every physical contortion necessary, every bite, chew, suck, nibble is loudly pronounced and weirdly amplified. There’s a constant ga-thluck ga-thluck ga-thluck, whether it’s a biscuit or a lamb chop. And if you’re really lucky, he will start talking while he’s eating and bits of the undigested food will come flying back out again. It’s really quite disgusting. It’s weird to think he used to be a nurse.

Though it’s hard to tell with Stinker. He’s told so many stories over the years which can’t all possibly be true, like meeting Freddie Mercury’s mother on a bus, or sharing a taxi with Phil Collins, that nobody knows whether he actually was a nurse or not. I remember the time he fainted in the library, only it was the most fake faint you’d ever seen. He went down so slowly that he even had time to tidy up as he did so, moving things out of the way, with a prolonged, ‘Ooooooooooooo-awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww’, which he didn’t stop until he knew that everyone was looking. I think he even found a 20p coin when he was finally on the floor.

So the other day I met him in the street and as usual he kind of grabbed me by the arm. There’s no escape when he does this. He’s probably so used to people running off halfway through one of his chit chats.
‘Ere! You wouldn’t believe what happened to me the other day’.
Uh-oh, I thought, here we go.
‘What’s that?’
‘I was almost abducted ‘.
‘Really?’
‘Yes, I was walking along the coast path between Paignton and Brixham. And as I was walking I was conscious of this strange man following me. And whenever I stopped, he stopped. And whenever I sped up, he sped up’.
‘That sounds very worrying ‘.
He was so close to me that I could smell his breath.
‘And I knew that he was just waiting for the opportunity to abduct me.’
‘To abduct you?’
‘Yes. For the ransom, you see. So that they could contact my family and demand two million pounds’.
‘Naturally’.
‘And you could just tell that he meant trouble. This strange man, I’d never seen him before in my life. He probably had a shooter. And I started to get really worried’.
‘How frightening for you’.
‘So anyway we came down off the headland to a small secluded beach. The kind of place where nobody would ever see us. And that’s when I saw a man on the beach with a power boat ‘.
‘Right . .’.
‘And he said, hey, that man over there is following you. And I said, yes, I’ve been walking faster to get away from him, but he kept increasing speed. He’s probably going to abduct me and demand a ransom of three million pounds. And the man with the speed boat agreed that this was a distinct possibility’.
‘Of course’.
‘And this man on the beach, the man with the boat, he said, hop in my boat, I’ll take you the rest of the way’.
‘I see’.

‘I clambered aboard, and off we went. And I turned and waved at the strange man, of course. Showing him that he couldn’t now get his hands on me, Ha ha.’

‘That showed him, didn’t it?’
‘So wasn’t that nice of the man with the boat? If it wasn’t for him, I’d have probably been abducted. Just goes to show how sensible I can be, getting myself out of a sticky situation like that’.

Well anyway, dearest Aunt Milly, I bid him good day and didn’t once question why he should be so concerned about the strange man following him, and not at all concerned about the strange man with the boat who actually whisked him away along the coast. I also didn’t question why Stinker thought that he was worth two or thre million in the first place. These things are probably left to someone with a greater understanding of the human mind than me.

Anyway, it was finally decided that the quietest food is probably margarine.

I’ll see you in two weeks for Derek’s anniversary,

All the best

Robert

Author: Robert Garnham

Performance and spoken word artist.

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