It’s happened to me dozens of times. I go to work where I find that I don’t have time for lunch. When I get home, I open the refrigerator and I find three or four slices of stale pizza wrapped in plastic wrap. And somewhere, deep within the recesses of my soul, I let out a little yelp of joy.
Yes, joy…For a stale piece of pizza.
For a leftover piece of pizza.
Now granted, it’s doesn’t equate to the feeling of joy I have when I enter a top notch Italian restaurant. It’s not even the kind of joy I feel when I initially see the pizza enter the house. But it is joy, and one I have to acknowledge.
But where does this joy come from? It’s not the fact that it’s a leftover. Outside of pizza, leftovers thrill me not at all. Oh, I eat them when it’s prudent to do so. But the reality is that there’s no joy in them.
But pizza? Pizza is different.
Part of it is the tie to the past. Pizza came to the forefront of my life while I was in college. Due to my lack of finances, I had to rely on the student meal plan for sustenance. This was not an environment conducive to finding inner bliss. Pizza was the antidote to this meager existence. For a mere 10 dollars, my friend and I could have a brief respite from the tragic meals that we had to endure. The joy I feel at the sight of cold pizza could be a Pavlovian response reminding me of previous joys.
But I think another aspect is the sheer pleasure of the what delivered pizza brings. It’s a hot meal is ordered when time or effort is lacking. It comes to the house in a box, like a Christmas present. When returning to the leftover pieces on the following day, it’s a return to the brief moment of relaxation that the delivery had afforded me.
Some might think that an introspection of such joy is a tad…well…obsessive. But these are the things I think of while reviewing audit reports in a hotel room in Tucson.
Pizza. And I have plenty that’s leftover.