The HIDDEN health benefit to salad that the GOVERNMENT and BIG PHARMA don’t want you to know about.

Bart Simpson once famously sang: “You don’t win friends with salad!” And that’s pretty much the point. 

I work in  a stall. When I say to coworkers, “Lets’ meet in my stall,” some of them take offense. Which is unfortunate.  I don’t know what else to call a room with three walls and no door. The partition I have is lovely, and I’ve enhanced it by hanging a sweet photo of Phil Collins upon it, but I realize that the word “stall” is problematic. It evokes images of toilets or compartmentalized horses chewing on hay while they wait for Miley Cyrus to scar them. But until my partition is replaced with a fourth wall and a door, I will continue to be stalled.

Oftentimes, I will eat lunch at my desk in my stall. Though, oftentimes I don’t use the word oftentimes. I take lunch at my desk because I have this thing where I hate talking and eating at the same time. Because I don’t have a multi-tasking mouth. I either eat or talk. Sitting across from people at lunch and shooting small pieces of my food in their direction is neither fun nor appetizing. And I don’t want to see their bread turn from golden brown to smooshy white as it tumbles over their tongue and across their teeth. I don’t want them to talk, sending flecks of dripping saliva bread all over the food I’m about to eat. We’re not birds. I don’t need my food pre-chewed.

So avoiding conversation is  a major reason you’ll see me eating lunch at my desk in my stall from 11:30-12:00. But it’s not always easy to keep people away. I have to be careful about what kinds of food I eat at my desk. Foods with strong aromas draw attention out in the workspace.  And that’s a major problem when you’re trying to hide from people.

In the kitchenspace, the smells of lunch are expected and they mingle until they become overpowering and unidentifiable. In the kitchspace, all of the people are eating so they don’t generally care about what you’re choking down. They won’t bother you about what you’re eating, but they will strike up conversation about current events and what-not.

In the workspace they’ll sniff your food and, for some reason, they’ll assume it’s fair game to come up to you and say: “Damn that smells good! What is it? Is it as good as it smells? Yum! Though, something that smells that good can’t be good for you. Is it good for you? It can’t possibly be good. Will it kill you? Are you dying? You look horrible! What happened to your face? Wait, were you always this ugly? Jesus Christ, man, wear a bag or something! Wear a fucking bag, you asshole! Your face is giving me nightmares. While I’m awake. I’m living a nightmare right now just looking at you and your awful face and head. You should be fired for creating a hostile work environment. I don’t feel safe. My work cannot possibly continue until you are either fired or you die horribly. A horrible, horrid death. I hope you choke to death on your food. To death. Go to hell. Go straight to hell.”

This happens a lot.

So, if I eat in the kitchenspace then people will want to talk about life and shit. If I eat in my workspace, then people will want to know what smells so good. What’s an asshole to do?

Well, the answer lies in the two lunch options inside the tower where I work. If I take the elevator down to the lobby and go right, I can eat at Potbelly’s with salads that won’t give me a potbelly. Go left, and it’s the Panda Express with a stop in Flavor Town on the way to Earlydeathville.

I don’t like to go to Panda Express for reasons you may have previously read about. But if the line at Potbelly’s is long and the people in line are looking at the menu board with the wide-eyed confused shock of tornado survivors, then I’ll go to PE where there is never a line because it doesn’t take a lot of time to scoop food from a bucket and slap it into take-out containers.

I’ll be too hungry to hate myself. I’ll ride up the elevator awash in the sweet smell of future health issues. I’ll stride over to my stall and shove the keyboard away to make room for the take-out container. I’ll tear open the bag, rip away the wrapper on my plastic fork, and squash that little voice that whispers: Never forget the Great Panda Uprising of aught fourteen. I’ll begin eating. I’ll hear footsteps on the carpet tiles outside my office. I’ll hear someone ask someone else “oh, what smells so good?” I’ll hear sniffing. The sniffing will get louder. Until it reaches my stall opening. Then a face. And a declaration. “SO THAT’S where the delicious smell is coming from! What are you eating? Is that PANDA?”

“Yes,” I’ll mutter, food flying into the depths of my keyboard only to resurface months later in a rain of crumbs when I flip over the keyboard looking for a lost pen or piece of paper.

The interrogator will then slip away, curiosity more satisfied than hunger.

I don’t blame this interloper. I do the exact same thing to other people.  Sometimes I’ll catch myself and think Stop Jeff, you mustn’t, you hate it when people do this to you! When that happens, I’ll ask louder and add more questions that demand more details because I’m depraved: “OOOOOH that smells deeeelicious! Where did you get it? Did you make it? That’s like restaurant quality!”

“It’s a hot pocket.”

“OOOOH it smells so fresh and toasty. Where did you buy it? Was it on sale?”

“It’s burning the roof of my mouth.”

“WELL that sounds delightful! How much did it cost? I’ll buy a case.”

“It gave me a blister when I took it out of the microwave.”

“I hope it comes in a variety of flavors!”

“The middle is ice cold.”

None of this needs to happen of course. When I go to Potbelly’s for lunch I’ll almost always order a salad. I get the Uptown Salad with the non-fat vinaigrette dressing. It becomes the Upyours salad when I take it back to my desk.

I’ll ride the elevator up silently. I’ll sit at my desk and calmly remove the lid from the clear container. I’ll pop the lid off of the dressing and pour it on my salad. I’ll mix it up a little bit. And then I’ll fucking eat my salad. No one will ask what that smell is. No one will tell me it looks delicious. No one will give a shit about my lunch or current events or my horrible face.

And alone time tastes so good.

If you’re still wondering what the Government and Big Pharma have to do with this post, you can stop.

30 Comments

  1. Ha! The self titled “mean girls” at my old office would refer to their cubicles as their ‘cell’. I guess they felt like they were in jail. Good forbid they look for a new job if they hated this one so much.

    • jeffandjill

      06/22/2015 at 10:53 am

      Yeah, I love the people I work with and I only refer to my workspace as a stall because I refuse to euphemize. Which makes me lazy. As well as awkward.

  2. So salad keeps people away? Damn, I wish I’d figured this out before. I hate having to try and talk when I’m eating, all that food flying about, landing who knows where (the thought of it makes me feel slightly I’ll).
    You could become known as a king among us antisocial folk for sharing this.

  3. Oh shades of my working-for-pay days, only I didn’t even have a stall. I sat front and foremost as the receptionist/secretary in a cement-floored, partitioned room with no air-conditioning and windows that couldn’t be unlocked on the 13th floor, across from Women’s Lockup and next to a 3-cell detention area for druggies. And you think you have it bad. Try eating lunch at that desk. Loved this blog.

  4. I never understood people who stayed in abusive relationships until I ate my first hot pocket. It used its wiles to draw me in, then burned me and gave me the cold shoulder, and what did I do? I went back for more.

  5. “You should be fired for creating a hostile work environment. ” Priceless.

    • jeffandjill

      06/22/2015 at 4:34 pm

      They followed up by trying to ban my face from public.

      • Weren’t you verbally and physically abused by all of your co-workers once already after winning some sort of contest? Joe Biden hit you and you were locked in an elevator for a few days…? I think your work environment might already be hostile. It has nothing to do with your face. Just saying.

        • jeffandjill

          06/23/2015 at 8:40 am

          Yes, all of that is 100% factual. But in an already hostile work environment, my face is an accelerant on the flames of anger.

  6. “I hope it comes in a variety of flavors!” Shut up–I am trying to convince my coworkers that I am a professional adult, and professional adults do not normally have Naturally Flavored Sodium Free seltzer coming out of their noses.

    • jeffandjill

      06/23/2015 at 10:26 am

      There’s a difference between “sodium free” and “free sodium” as this staff of medical professionals would have me know. Also, I gorge myself on free gluten.

  7. Man. This is hysterical. Also, I totally hate Panda Express. But my food often smells good. So I understand your pain.

    • jeffandjill

      06/23/2015 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks! It’s amazing how much I lie to myself to eat there. I almost ate there today. It’s like mind control.

  8. If the Panda Express is in the building, then why are they so surprised by the smell of the food? People are really stupid sometimes. Also, what is it about the workplace that makes all the foods smell so great? I could heat up a can of Chef Boyr r’ Dee, which really is great, but people would be all, “man, what IS that?” Uh, it’s a can of fourth rate, sodium infested garbage made for kids, but thank you for asking. While we’re here, why are edibles at Sam’s Club so good as samples, but when you get them home, nobody wants to touch it. “We don’t like that, Daddy.” FUCK! YOU AT FIVE SAMPLES AT THE STORE AND BEGGED ME TO GET SOME!!!!!!! Kids can be douches. Also, do you have electric forest access at work? I very much enjoy the idea of lunch in the electric forest and would be jealous, if yes.

    • jeffandjill

      06/23/2015 at 1:53 pm

      I could try to eat in the electric forest but that might get a little awkward. The electric forest prizes itself on minimalism and I’m not sure my food and containers would be welcome there.

      Also, kids are assholes.

  9. Loved “the middle is ice cold.” I picture the saddest face in the world saying that. Such disappointment. I’m always practically running from the microwave back to my desk when I reheat leftovers. Please let’s not discuss the General Tso’s I’m eating when we were all talking about going on diets before. Clearly I can’t be helped.

    • jeffandjill

      06/24/2015 at 4:28 pm

      Diets are evil and pointless. General Tso is a bastard. And coworkers need to respect personal space. My personal space is 15 hectares.

  10. Haha! I remember these days. Now it’s just the kids wanting to eat whatever is on my plate. And I’ll never forget the Great Panda Uprising. LOL!

    • jeffandjill

      06/25/2015 at 4:53 pm

      Yeah, I’m amazed Jill is still alive–the kids eat everything she tries to eat.

      The Great Panda Uprising: The meal that launched a thousand HUUUUAAAAACCKKKKs

  11. reading while eating and hiding is horrible, too. I can be deep in the world of wherever and suddenly someone tries to snag me for something incredibly STUPID. I don’t CARE what your brother is doing right now, I want to find out where Leesa hid that laser she’s now got in her hand and who she is going to slice with it. And yes, I know I’ve read it at least 3 times before, but it might be different now.

    • and I forgot almost all punctuation in that comment. I was torn from too many books while I was growing up.

      • jeffandjill

        06/27/2015 at 6:35 pm

        I never wanted to leave books. I was sad every time I finished a novel. The real world was just less real. Always has been.

  12. I only bring salad-type lunches to work, because not only am I too lazy to leave the building to buy lunch, I’m unwilling to walk down the hall to heat anything up. My laziness is what keeps me portly, despite all of the salads I eat.

    • jeffandjill

      06/29/2015 at 2:31 pm

      That is funny. I thought of salad for the introvert, but never considered salad for the lazy. That makes sense, though.

  13. Salads as person-repellant. Sounds about right.

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