“Shall we order a takeaway?” Aaron asks me, about six hours before we would actually consider picking up the phone to place an order.
Our eyes duet, moving in unison before they fall upon my most recent regrettable purchase. The bathroom scales. The scales that betrayed I Literally Cannot Put on Weight Even if I Try Aaron, and told on me; displaying what a few months of eating lunch al desko on the trot and barely making 4,000 steps each day looks like.
It has been twenty whole days since our last takeaway. Twenty whole days since we have revelled in the sticky sweet sauce of a Texas BBQ, mopped up the remnants of a jalfrezi with the last bite of naan or overindulged in a family-sized portion of chip-shop chips.
Wednesday, Aaron’s first day off of the week, is takeaway day. If we choose not to order a takeaway on a Wednesday, we go without all week. It’s the unwritten rule of our lockdown.
This Wednesday is grey and rainy. And when it’s lockdown and it’s grey and rainy, we spend the whole day sprawled across two different sofas, complaining we are bored and nudging the other to make an executive decision on what activity we should commit to. And when it’s a grey and rainy lockdown day, there really are only three options:
a) Harry Potter marathon
b) Mario Kart championship
c) A ‘Who can eat the majority of the fridge’s content first?’ contest
The last option means setting us up for failure; if we later want to order a takeaway, choosing c) would mean we could not, in good faith, order a selection made for a family of four. If we choose b), I will sit on the start line as Baby Mario, victory prematurely pumping through my veins but, “This game is not the same as it used to be,” I will rage as I lose, and our evening will be ruined before 5PM. And so we choose a), or a variation of a) that might involve the MCU or a Netflix series.
We don’t say a lot as we start the new series of Queer Eye, completing the first five episodes so quickly that they all merge into one happy, teary mess of bomber jackets and French tucks. We barely even notice that the weather has turned outside and we missed the opportunity to rectify our t-shirt tans. But one thing that makes up for the non-event of a lockdown Wednesday afternoon is that it is finally reasonable to start talking dinner.
“Shall we order a takeaway?” Aaron asks again, as we both stand at the fridge, heads tilted slightly as we pull faces at the sorry offering in front of us. I try to magic up the ingredients into a hypothetical three-course dinner:
Starter: Heinz tomato soup with a dollop of crème fraîche from last week’s fajitas… Or was it the week before?
Main: Salade Niçoise, made with soggy little gem lettuce, three-day old leftover tinned tuna and one (probably under) boiled egg between two.
Desert: Cheese board, featuring a hard lump of “Oops we didn’t seal the cheese up again” cheddar and low fat cream cheese on crackers opened at Christmas.
If we don’t opt for takeaway on a Wednesday, we go to bed that night nervous in the knowledge that we have six more days until we can pose the “Shall we order a takeaway?” question again.
I suggest my set menu to Aaron.
We order a local Brazilian takeaway.
And because it was week 12 of lockdown, when Sunday rolls about and I put forward a compelling argument for a second takeaway that week (“I’m not touching the oven tonight.”), we order a pizza.