During my sophomore year in college, I had an extended lapse into obsessive depression and irrational mania. This is not not how I’ve normally experienced life , but it also persists to feel terrible all the time. The emotions and thoughts that came with this time were stupidly incapacitating, and I found myself using some defense mechanisms:
- Eggrolling myself into the one blanket that I own
- Eating a lot of grapes, which in Ithaca, are strangely, consistently plump and juicy and crisp
- Avoiding social interaction and fearing the general public, at all costs
- Exercising beyond most reasonable limits
Why exactly I decided to subject myself to the exclusive consumption of vitamin puke is delineated in an email to my housemembers:
In short, the reason is dangling. My philosophy towards trying new things is “If its not too uncomfortable, we are all dying anyway, and if I can’t feel myself dying, then killing myself slowly surely cannot be of major consequence.”
So I ordered $64.00 of Soylent.
Given that my scholarship provides an abundance of free, well-cooked food of meat and vegetable varieties, my choice to spend money on slightly off-tasting white powder infused with “organic” “no gmo” “omega 360” oils and seeds seems to be a complete waste of money. The people with whom I lived offered some opinions:
“But Soylent is made of people!!!” -joe
“I’m all for replacing my boring old food with an exciting off-white sludge paste, but I don’t know if it has adequate mouth feel.” -honor
“I’m in, I have no self-respect.” -sof
And most eloquently:
“I’m going to be up front; I didn’t know that Soylent was an actual product. I didn’t read the thread very thoroughly and thought that Beatrice was just making highly ironic references to Soylent Green. I’m honestly really perturbed that Soylent is a real product, that anybody would name something meant to be ingested “Soylent,” and that anybody could be so excited about the delivery of this thing. I just thought that we were making weird pop culture references but the reality is, as always, shocking and disorienting. If anybody knows where I can exchange my lived experience for one that is more palatable to my sensibilities, please let me know.” -chubbert
During this time, I temporarily earned the nickname “Soylent” and “Soylent girl”. In spite of these difficult circumstances, I decided to begin my inexorable march away from all solid foods.
As with most ideas that are just ideas, I was at first grossly enthusiastic about Soylent | Free Your Body. I made smoothies for the house:
And I drank. Oh, I drank the way a recovering alcoholic drinks beer, slowly at first, then uncontrollably ravenously, loving the feeling of it swirling in my mouth and trickling down my esophagus.
And then the hype died, and I was left to blend my daily Soylent with spinach and bananas and water, grasp firmly, and drink heartily, without the explicit praise and disgust of others.
The most pressing question now arises: “So, how’s your poop?” And to be honest, I feel that though this is the most obvious thing to ask, it is not the most important. For instance, I would have preferred something more along the lines of “How are you?” or “Are you feeling satisfied about the actions you’ve taken today?” or “Have you recently grappled meaningfully with the notions of love and purpose?”
But anyway, the answer to the question is “less frequent”.
What bothered me more was two other things:
- I began to experience an intense craving for something not of the liquid or gas state of matter to come into contact with my teeth. More specifically, the stimulation of my sense of flavor, through orthonasal and retronasal perception.
- I began to dream about food. In these dreams, I would be devouring the house supply of cereals and milk, stuffing my mouth spoonful by spoonful full of crunchy, cinnamon squares and honey nut flakes. I would wake up from these dreams, horrified for no objective reason.
Despite the occurrences of these very physically disturbing phenomenon, I continued to let my stomach make weird sounds for the rest of the week. I found myself to be quite functional, save for an ever growing obsession with staring at the lemon-grazed rosemary chicken legs that our chef Kevin makes for us.
On one dark and stormy night, I happened to mix a single scoop of my beloved Soylent with some rotten pineapple juice. The best way for me to describe the experience of drinking this concoction is to refer to J.K. Rowling’s description of the Mandrake from the Harry Potter series, which is “brown, humanoid.”
I do not wish anything brown and/or humanoid on anyone or their digestive tracts. Having had nothing in my stomach except semi-viscous Soylent for several days, the breakdown of canned, fruity acid and white paste in my mouth has been the singular reason why I no longer believe in Soylent | Free Your Body.
Upon reflection, however, I realized that I have indeed dangled at the edge of luxury and stupidity. I have, in fact, felt my heartstrings pulled and plucked by passion and hatred. My liver and heart throb onwards, ever so grateful to have been alive before research proves that Soylent gives people prostate cancer and mild psychosis.