My daily lunch break provides respite from mind-numbing meetings, endless annoying interchanges with colleagues* and the general cacophony that is my day-to-day existence. There has been a frightening trend of late – regularly scheduled “brown bag lunch” meetings – and i must take action. Nine – ten hours without escape will destroy my remaining nerve.
My Friday two-hour drinking lunch has been replaced with a weekly “seminar” – mandatory persecution and torment professional development coursework. This will continue through late November, unless the seminar group disbands in a fit of salivating rage at the injustice wrought from far above our pay grades.
Another “informal brown bagger”** has encroached on my Tuesday lunch hour… Within the organization, there are eight of us with a common job function. Four of us fully comprehend what is expected of us. The other four special needs children individuals argued for a weekly communal lunch – to “share best practices” and “develop common vision” – both phrases that strike fear in the heart of a burnt out, cynical seasoned professional.
And the latest? A Monday meeting, every other week, with a group of young, impressionable colleagues – where i am one of the old fucks “mentors” shaping their professional development, sharing hopes and dreams and imparting useful nuggets of wisdom from my playbook. Seriously, do you expect me not to be cranky on Monday without a dirty martini in my hand?
The loss of my lunch hour is bad enough. Even scarier? Being too lazy disorganized to bring suitable food from home, i am at the mercy of our in-house cafeteria, lovingly named The Ptomaine Palace. While the helpful tapeworm to assist me with my weight loss goals lurks in the pantry, i would like to avoid contracting something that will lead to a massive colon blow during an afternoon meeting. There are some incidents in the workplace from which there is no recovery.
On a good day, i dive on the pre-packaged food – yogurt and fresh fruit are sometimes available if i get there early enough. By mid-week the salad selection is somewhat dessicated – but will do if i’m in the mood for lettuce with the texture of old chewing gum. The soup is always dicey – recycled lumps of mystery meat bobbing on the surface of grey broth nearly sweats dysentery.
For now there is only one option. Get organized. Pack that lunch. And include a flask… i am supposed to be setting an example for the young ‘uns. Being resourceful? Priceless…
* An example? The senior scientist who will appear in my doorway exactly one minute after i receive an e-mail from him. He then says “I sent you an e-mail… ” and proceeds to tell me what was in it. For thirty minutes.
** Not to be confused with at “tea-bagger”. We have those too. One particular supply closet is rumored to need weekly disinfection…