Secret Shame

January 19, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Life | 4 Comments
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I am, and always have been, a member of the gotolunch society. Our organization stands in vigilant opposition to our arch-enemies, the scourge of the American office, the bringalunch gang. The bringalunch gang is vicious and evil, their weapons of war not as obvious as the sword or gun, but instead the subversive tupperware, the sneaky microwave, the shifty plastic fork.

Worse yet, in this time of economic uncertainty, I find that their numbers are growing

In our modern age of electronic communications and conference calls, I often think that the only reason for even going into the office is to get lunch. That hour, that sweet break in the middle of the day, is a sacred thing, dear readers. The company. The conversation. The food. Thai, sushi, Chinese, Italian, Mexican. A veritable United Nations of flavor offered up every day in our quiet little Connecticut town.

Regardless of the location chosen, though, one thing is certain. We will leave the building for lunch. Eat at my desk? Why don’t I just light the American flag on fire. As far as I’m concerned the two actions are analogous.

I provide this rather lengthy preface if only to ground you in my typical behaviors so that you can see how rather atypical my alternative behavior is.  You see, there are days I forego all this, the company, the conversation, the ethnic food, for a different, more personal alternative.

These are the days that I spend my entire lunch break driving around and eating fast food in my car.

I really don’t know why I do this, why I find this act so tremendously comforting. It could be yearning for my days spent in sales, wherein several days at a time were spent driving around in solitude between visiting my accounts. It could be that, because we’re located in such a small town, it is the only absolute foolproof way to guarantee that you won’t accidentally run into a co-worker when you were trying to eat alone. It could be because I probably wouldn’t be successful at convincing the staff at Taco Bell to play last week’s This American Life podcast over their loudspeakers while I ate.

imagesWhile the cause of my bizarre lunchtime ritual may escape me, here is what I do know: driving down Route 10, dunking a chicken nugget into sweet & sour sauce (nestled neatly between the stick shift and the radio) while listening to Arianna Huffington espouse on the virtues of universal healthcare…

That, my friends, is heaven.

This only becomes problematic when you arrive at your 1:00 meeting carrying, say, a Taco Bell soda cup. Three other people have a Taco Bell soda cup. “Hey, we were just at Taco Bell,” they say, “we didn’t see you.”

Really. Hmmm. How odd.


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  1. Stick shift? Ahem. You drive an automatic my love.
    [Yes, but I don’t know what the word is for the automatic shifter. And it is shaped like a stick…so I went with stick shift.]

  2. You do not strike me as the type who could stand it if their car smelled like fries all the time…

  3. I’m so glad you addressed this issue. Meghan and I were just talking about how ridiculous grown men look with lunchboxes in hand. Women — smartly — know to hide the stupid things in their purses, thank god.

  4. I just saw a lady carrying a thermos on a strap. Carrying it over her shoulder, like a proper bag.


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