Some of my friends understand that if they go out to eat with me at a restaurant and we end up staying long after a meal is finished, I will start to do something very interesting: Playing with my food.
Now, I don’t play with my food in the same way a child might toss around a piece of broccoli that they don’t want to eat. I don’t even play with my food, per se, but rather that any part of the meal left over stops being food and starts being fodder for my tiny art projects. Without thinking about it (because if I think too much, it won’t turn out right), I will begin to create little sculpture out of anything that is around me – utensils, food, candles, sugar packets, glasses, plates, etc. I will begin to balance things on other things, lean some stuff against some other stuff, stack objects on other objects. By the end, I will have created a tiny piece of art right there on the table.
Usually, these attempts end up failing, either because we are about to leave (or be kicked out), or because I can’t get things to balance quite right and I don’t have the patience to stick it out. But when they do work, I am quite pleased with the end result. They are like sand castles in the fact that they are only temporary. Once we leave, the server will come by and clear the table for the next customers. This makes every piece somewhat pure in its artistic essence; that by only existing for a short period of time, they are more perfect than anything else I’ve done.
Here is one example from a few years back that happened at a large dinner of old friends. It was far from my best, which is a title that is held by a piece that I created at breakfast with my girlfriend and another friend of ours my freshman year in college. They were talking about something I didn’t care about, and so I created a foot tall mobile which included forks balancing sausages and apples on the rim of a glass. Just as I finished, the other two finally noticed what I was doing and asked, “What is that?” I hit one of the balancing utensils, setting the entire piece into a slow spin, looked up and said, “It’s a balanced breakfast.”
It is quite possibly the greatest thing I have ever done. It’s been down hill ever since.