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I'm thirteen years old, jammed in the backseat of a Chevy Impala. My uncle is driving. My aunt is in the passenger seat. My parents are in the back with me. The four adults are talking about where they ate last night. This then leads to what they ate, then to the quality of the food, then to queries about other restaurants they may or may not have eaten in. I remember thinking that when I grew up I would never be that boring, that shallow.

Fifty years later. I'm driving my car. (I paid retail for it, so I won't mention the manufacturer.) There are three other adults in the car as well. The conversation is about food. Where we ate, what we ate, how was it, and have we ever eaten at such and such restaurant. As the discussion goes on around me, I can't help thinking that I have betrayed my teenage oath. I've become the banal grownup I once decried. Anxious to regain my self-respect, I abruptly switch the topic to something more consequential. I choose the threat of antibiotic-resistant staph infections. My companions are startled. One asks what that has to do with polenta. I can't figure out a way to explain my long ago, silent vow so I angrily exclaim, "Everything!"

The rest of the drive to the restaurant happens in silence.

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1st Aired: 05 May 2016