The first week of 2010 I spent in Cork where I visited three friends that I had met a few months earlier in Regensburg. On my last night there we went out and had dinner at a Japanese-style restaurant. I ordered prawns. But while going though the menu before I made that choice, I noticed something funny: I skipped the prawns automatically, as if they were simply not an option.
But they were, there’s no reason I couldn’t have prawns except my girlfriend, who wasn’t there. Two and a half years with her have unwittingly taught me a few things. One of them is to avoid prawns. She has a great dislike for them. Even being near someone who eats them, fills her with disgust. She’ll be polite enough to tolerate prawn-eaters, but that is as far as she’ll go.
As a matter of courtesy I never eat prawns when I am with her. Now some people might see this as a sacrifice. I know my girlfriend would, if she knew about my prawn-evading habit. But it’s not. It is simply something you do, without having either thoughts or feelings to go with it, neither positive nor negative. At most it feels like something that you please someone with that you love. But that feeling quickly vanishes. After that it’s nothing, a habit and certainly not a sacrifice.