Editor's note: Aspiring photojournalist and Gut Check contributor Kholood Eid is chronicling her Ramadan fast in diary form. Click for all Ramadan Diary entries to date.
Last Wednesday, August 18, was the absolute toughest day of my fasting to date. I'd decided to go to a day game at the ballpark (while getting over a cold, to boot). The seats were just too good to pass up.
Very, very bad idea.
Our seats were on the first level, under the merciless sun. A breeze occasionally drifted our way, but it was too rare to make much difference.
For me, food is a key part of the ballpark experience:
A pretzel with cheese is a must, nachos (with cheese, light on the jalapeños) are optional. On this day, of course, there was no pretzel for me. Instead I had to watch a guy two rows ahead of me eat half his pretzel -- without cheese! -- and dump the rest under his seat. He was a Brewers fan. Then there was the beer guy, whose signature call was "TOO COLD TO HOLD!!!" I distinctly remember seeing an ice cube fall out of his beer tub and watching as it melted on the blazing stadium steps. Twice.
Oh, and the Cardinals lost.
But I knew I'd be back at Busch in two days, and by God, I promised myself, I'd make up for that miserable experience.
When the sun finally set on Friday, I stayed in my seat until the inning ended. (Just because I'm fasting doesn't mean I have to be inconsiderate.) Then it was on. I ordered my pretzel and cheese and backed that up with chicken strips. I can't imagine what the cashier must have thought of the woman repeating "I'm so excited for this, I'm so excited," over and over. Then again, at the time I didn't care.
I'm not a big fan of salt on pretzels but I never feel like asking for a saltless one, so after shoving half a chicken strip in my mouth for sustenance, I got to work brushing off the salt and prepping the pretzel for cheese.
It was everything I'd hoped it would be. Nothing went to waste, no crumb of poultry or pretzel, not one single oozy drop of Day-Glo yellow cheese. (I have a system: I have to ration out each piece of pretzel with the proper amount of cheese so that I finish both in the same bite. Yeah, a little OCD, I know.)
This may not have been a four-course meal at Tony's, but it was just about perfect for me. My only regret is that I didn't hunt down the ice cream vendor who sells that sandwich made with oatmeal cookies.
Well, a Cardinals win would've been nice.