Fortunately I had a caring tablemate- two of them in fact- who served me by doing the hard yakka of cracking the crab shells and extracting what little meat was contained therein. Had I been left to my own devices, I might not have bothered. In fact, I seldom do trouble myself with crabs or lobsters because I simply don't feel it is worth the effort.
I can be bothered with prawns though, but prawns are easy to peel or shell - whatever the correct term is. Crabs are not. The thing is the meat tastes nice. The problem is there is very little of it. Having been fed for about twenty minutes on tiny little pieces of the sweet white meat, I felt as though I had eaten nothing. As more courses arrived, including tiny shells containing even tinier portions of flesh, I decided I had to contribute to the work. I cracked some shells and picked away, helping my dinner companion finish all the crabs.
Looking at the impressive pile of shells left behind only made me smile, as I fought the desire to cross the road and order a big steak.
My dinner partner loves seafood. It is her first choice and she delights in the labour intensive consumption of crabs. I'm a little bit of a lazy eater. Although I referred to steak, I rarely eat it, preferring rice and pasta dishes instead which are very easy to consume. Had my stomach been big enough I could have easily wolfed down a couple of plates of stir fry ostrich with rice in the same time it took to eat maybe 50g of crab.
As I do, I reflected on this event. Good relationships, like eating crabs, require a lot of work: patient toil to reap sometimes only a small reward. The cumulative effect of these small rewards is invariably quite satisfying. There is no rush to finish the crabs. Crab lovers understand the process takes time and they enjoy it. It's not about eating, it's about enjoying a meal.
Perhaps this is why so many relationships struggle. Firstly, a lack of patience. Secondly, a lack of understanding of the process. Thirdly, an over emphasis on the result, and finally a lack of commitment to the necessary work.
I may never be a crab lover, but I believe I can learn to be better at relationships. Even if I never fully appreciate crabs, I am thankful for this experience of eating them, and I do appreciate the importance of good relationships.
To finish I must honour the servant heart of the beautiful lady who served me that night. Both she and her daughter literally had me eating out of the palm of their hands, because they thought nothing of helping me to enjoy a meal with them. Crack! One incy wincey piece of crab for you...crack! One incy wincey piece of crab meat for me.
Wow! There's a radical idea. What if the husband and wife served each other in humility. Now there's a marriage made in heaven.