Matthew Frank Gamble

by The Bathtub Project

Name: Matthew Frank Gambill

Age: 33

What pronouns do you use?

Dude. Him. Guy. I don’t really mind. I consider myself to be Zen Buddhist, and it’s like if somebody that wants to say he, you, they, and what is it? Him, he, I guess is– yes. So that’s who I am [laughter].

How often do you bathe or shower?

Every day. I have a bad back. I have scoliosis and tendinitis, and a healthy drinking habit, and it dehydrates my muscles. And so it’s like I’m at this pool bar downstairs I can hang from, and get my spine out, but sitting in a bath is also the best thing. If there’s Epsom salt there. That stuff is like magic. I’m in a large body. I mean, if I’m going to go– if I have to work, shower trumps it. You know what I mean? If I’ve got enough time, and knowing I don’t have to worry about the time in the bath. I’ve been known to– if I could live in a bathtub I would. I do a little bit of everything in the tub. Sometimes I watch videos or shows. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I listen to a podcast. I mean, sometimes I’ll just sit, but I love to read, but you’ve got to– you can’t force it because– yeah. I don’t just go home and sit down and read. I mean, I like reading on the bus, or waiting in line, or in the bathroom. So if I am reading in the bath, it’s like I either really enjoy the book, or I’m trying to just get away from technology for a minute.

If you were an underwater creature, which one would you be?

Several of them. So when people always ask what kind of animal would you be, and I always thought I would either be like a dog or an otter. And then I found out that male otters are called dogs. Yeah. And they hold hands, and they play with pebble rocks. And then also, they can kill crocodiles, which is pretty cool. They play and slide. Yeah, they can kill crocodiles. They get pretty big in South America. Yeah.I would probably be an otter. Or a dog. I mean, anybody that’s ever worked with me, or known me for a period of time, I’m probably like a Labrador. just just like. I go through times I don’t talk here at all, or don’t talk to anybody, but if I’m in the moment, I’m just like– people, things. I like to be very– I get excited. I’m very easily excited.

What are you passionate about?

Food. People. I cook a lot. My roommate just started eating meat again for the first time in like 15 years. And so I introduced her to a home cooked bacon. She never had home cooked bacon, and now it’s her favorite thing. Yeah. We’ve got a crock-pot here. Can’t figure out how the pressure cooker works. I think it is missing a piece. But yeah, I just got this sweet juicer thing. I love it. Plus I work at a grocery store, so I get 30%, and on top of the deals, so I just got food all the time.

When did this passion start?

Well, I mean, I loved food from a very young age. It started with Colby Jack cheese. I used to be– when I was a kid, I would ask my grandparents or my mom. “I want that camo cheese.” While I grew up, my parents worked a lot, so it was mostly fast food with this one frozen food or cereal and shit like that. And so I didn’t really eat vegetables on sandwiches. It was pepperoni pizza or a cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard. It wasn’t until college when I tried sushi and I put all the veggies on my subway sandwich. And now I’m just constantly trying to learn things I don’t know like, “Oh, what’s this? How do you cook it? How do we use that?” It’s cool.

Is there a connection between food and people?

Oh, yes. Yes. There are some Buddhist monks who won’t eat anything unless they know the person that prepared it. You put your energy in the food. But also you can eat crappy gas station food and feel like crap, or you can eat– when you eat home-cooked good food, you just feel different. You feel different. I love fast food. I will eat the crappiest stuff. I will put the worst stuff in my body. But at the same time if I’m just cooking regularly, I just feel better. I don’t know. And I’d say you get to control what you taste and how you taste it. Also what I found is cooking for other people. I can’t just go wild with it. I can’t just throw stuff in because I’m just like, “Somebody else is going to eat this.”

My friend that I work with, we take lunch together, and I was like, “Well, if I’m going to be going out and paying for food all the time, I’m going to have to bring you food with me too,” and she goes, “Oh, I’ve never tasted your cooking.” And I was just like, “My cooking?” The way she said it, I was like, “Oh, shit. Now I’ve got to come up with a plan. I can’t just do rice and chicken.” I mean, yeah, that’s fine, but. You know what I mean? It can’t just be some random shit. It’s like, “Ah, fuck.” But it’s also cool because it’s like, “Okay. I’m not going to grab this and that and this because I like it.” It’s like, “Okay. I’m doing lemon pepper chicken,” or, “This is carne asada,” or, “This is beef-free tacos.” It’s not just like, “I like this and I like that. I’m just getting carried away.” It’s too easy to get carried away, and then you’ve got way too much stuff, and it’s all salty. One time I accidentally didn’t realize it was the wrong kind of top for soy sauce, and you don’t want too much soy sauce in a dish. I mean, it’s not like inedible, but it’s just like, “Damn it, this is salty.” Yeah.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Well, I haven’t been playing music lately, but I’ve played guitar for over 20 years, and I got a bunch of music instruments. I think one thing I feel really accomplished in is my ability to learn new things and develop my skills. I can decide how good I want to be at something and to grow, as opposed to my dad who thinks because he’s not in the NBA he was never meant to be in the NBA. He’s also really not that great at golf. And if he’s doing bad at bowling, if he’s having a bad time, he goes and just plays with his phone. I don’t have that mentality. I’m like, “If I want to be good at bowling, I’m going to focus. I’m going to practice, and I’m going to really just try to be good at it,” or pool or cooking or music or just whatever it is.

I didn’t use to value myself as much. I would just drop out of art school, smoke pot, and drink with your friends, and no one’s paying you for all your time. And now that I’m working three jobs and cooking for myself and trying to be more responsible – I’m not in my 20s anymore – it’s cool to see that while you can bounce around for most of your life, you can still pull yourself together when you need to. So I like being able to let loose and pull myself together, and hopefully that’ll work out some day.

What are your thoughts on relationships, platonic, sexual, familial, and otherwise?

I would say the family ones are the most complicated ones for me right now. My roommate and I are domestic partners – we’re not sexual partners at all – and so we work really well together getting things done in the domestic situation. But then I’m also dabbling in the waters of dating again, and that’s weird because it’s like, “Oh, I really like talking to this person,” but then we also have intimate times, and I’m figuring out how to transition between the two because now that’s weird again. I don’t know. I think every relationship can be– God, I hope my mom doesn’t read this if I’m going to get too personal. [laughter] Relationships can go from being very, very cold or distant, and we have to sort of be ready for that. You could be complete strangers with someone, or you can be very, very intimate with people.

I have a friend who now is married and has a kid, but back in the day we hooked up a couple of times. And one time she was drunk next to her very large husband, just going like, “Matt and I had sex, and we’re fine, and we’re fine.” And I was just like, “Can we not? Rocco’s right next to you. Can we not talk about this right now or at all?” Having sex with your friends and co-workers is messy, so try not to do it. But you can do it. [laughter] Yeah. Everybody likes sex, but you also shouldn’t have sex with everyone. Yeah, yeah.