In high school I worked in the daycare room at a local gym. It was a nightmare but I hung in there for the free membership. Whatever those hellion tots threw at me, snack time always took that circus to a whole new level of crazy. I dreamt of the day I would enter the “professional” working world where there were grownups. Sadly, I was wrong.
Here are five food habits of my coworkers that I could live without:
1. Using the Fridge as a Petri Dish: Pay no attention to the numerous signs I post on the fridge asking to keep it clean and not leave food festering in there. Even though it is sternly worded, please, consider it as not a request but just a suggestion – sort of like the traffic lights in Rome. Here’s a hint: when the lunch you packed last month starts to look like it went and got itself a fungus sweater, it’s probably a good time to throw it out.
2. Displaying Pigeon Behavior: The number one rule of pigeons is never feed pigeons. If you give them food, it will just encourage to keep coming back. I made this mistake early in my time at Berrett-Koehler when one of our editors (I will not name him here, oh wait, I will – it’s Jeevan) came to my desk asking for chocolate. I just so happened to have some stashed away so I gave it to him. Now he keeps coming and asking and won’t leave me alone. Now I’ve had to resort to locking my desk.
3. “Let the Maid Clean It”: Here’s the problem, we don’t have a maid, but since I am responsible for the general upkeep of the office, guess who is on permanent feather-duster duty? Picking up loose napkins or the like is okay, but I went to college so that I wouldn’t have to bus tables and abandoned meals. Then there’s the microwave, let me tell you – the savory mélange that results from that blended, congealed mess of a hundred nasty exploded microwave meals is truly a treat.
4. The Leftover Combo-Nightmare: I know that throwing together a bunch of leftovers and making some sort of hybrid dish can be fun, but there are limits. Some combinations were made for consumption and others for the trash compactor. Some of the food I’ve seen staff eat is Frankenstein-ish – an unholy amalgam created from the remains of several long-dead meals. Oh, and the smell of 2-day old tuna with cauliflower emanating from the microwave? An olfactory garden of delights, I tell you.
5. The Envious Palate: There are many food options around our office but few of them are any good (and the ones that are, you get tired of quickly). So sometimes I’ll actually walk a death-defying three blocks to get my food from elsewhere. But the moment I get back to the office and begin eating, others will start to stare, and then the dance begins:
Them: Oh! That looks good, where did you get that?
Me: I found it in some homeless guy’s hobo bag and stole it (it doesn’t matter what I say, this was only an instigative question).
Them: Oh! Wow! That smells so good…and it looks tasty. All I got was this crappy sandwich from Lee’s, but I’m so busy, I just can’t…you know
Me: Yeah, totally busy, I know. [Thought to myself: but you have enough time to stand around and chat about my lunch?]
Them: Yeah…so…it looks really good…hmmm
Me: Um, do you want to try some? [Thought to self: which is what you really wanted all along but just couldn’t say.]
[The dance ends with me losing a precious portion of my lunch, usually followed by “Oh, that is good!” Yeah, I know, that’s why I hiked three frickin’ blocks to get it only to have you eat half of it.]
Oh, excuse me, clean-up on aisle six…