Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lunch at work

There are days when whatever I bring for lunch does not sound good at all. I start thinking about it around 9:30 each morning and while typing an email or answering the phone and doing my best to sound intelligent, I’m really trying to decide whether the tuna or leftovers sounds good enough to gag down.

By the way, gagging on my lunch reminds me of my lunches when I worked for Leo Reber at the Lone Butte ranch during the summer when I was about 15 years old. He didn’t provide a refrigerator to keep our lunch in, so we’d just have to put it on a shelf in an old work shed that was open to the hot summer weather. We’d come in for lunch from chopping weeds in the cotton fields and I’d open the plastic sandwich bag and the warm juice from the tomato had leaked all over the white bread and had made it soggy with a little extra juice pooled down in one corner of the plastic bag. There’s nothing like a warm baloney sandwich with warm lettuce and tomato on it. When I took a bite the whole thing would stick to the roof of my mouth and I have to take my finger and scrape it all off. But I digress.

When I each lunch at work, there are the invariable interruptions. They walk up to you and start talking to you about a problem or a question, all the while staring at your Tupperware container with that "You’re actually eating that!?!?" look in their eye, but never really saying it, except one or two of the more obnoxious ones who think nothing of saying anything that pops into their minds - you know the ones. They simply ignore the fact that you’re "in the zone" with your food and just launch into what they want, because in reality, their problem is more important than my food, isn’t it? Besides Mike, aren’t you getting a little "fleshy" and taking you away from your food is actually doing you a favor, right? So I politely turn away from my lunch and listen and provide my input, all the while worrying that their "talk spittle" is spraying into my food. I’ve been known to cover my lunch with a napkin during these interruptions.

Oh - - never bring any fish or broccoli to work; have you ever smelled that in the microwave? But I’ve been known to bring bean burros. Never let anyone see you with a bean burro at work!! The flatulence jokes will never end (as if none of them ever have gas). You’d think no one ever ate beans before (I’m beginning to wonder). I warm them up in secret (hovering over the microwave so no one sees), and then put the burros back in a paper bag and quickly walk back to my desk. I’ll nonchalantly ease one out of the bag a little, take a quick bite, and then slide it back in the bag while I chew. No one has ever caught me yet.

Some days I take my lunch from the fridge (or fast food) and go find a place to eat it away from the office. Doesn’t everyone have a favorite place to go park their vehicle and sit in the shade and eat their lunch and listen to the radio? I did this a lot back in my NCR days in downtown Phoenix where I had a favorite place in a secluded neighborhood. There was one place where there were no sidewalks and the side of the road was wider than most and there was just enough shade. I would go there often and enjoy the solitude. One day I noticed another car driving slowly down the lane in my direction. This person was from the "no concept of space" planet and pulled up about 20 feet away from me. We were nose to nose, both of our vehicles barely in the shade. They turned off their engine and proceeded to eat their lunch. There we were, staring at each other. I thought about laying on my side in the front seat and trying to eat my lunch that way, but it’s hard to drink or swallow without it spilling out of the side of your mouth and running into your ears. Sadly, I started my car and drove off to find another place to eat.

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