Not long after I started my job, I began avoiding the company break room at all costs. I would rather eat my half-frozen Hot Pocket in my car or at my desk than venture into that over-crowded sea of chaos. Sometimes I can’t avoid eating in the break room though, and those are dark times indeed. You may think I’m rude, anti-social, or even pretentious, but honestly, I really don’t give a shit. Come sit in my office’s break room for 45 minutes one day and you’ll quickly understand why I am the way I am.
You know how when you walk into Subway the smell hits you like an F-150? Our break room odor is a CSX Diesel Engine. Twenty microwaves along the walls heat up all manners of foul leftover concoctions. You’ve got the asshole who brings tuna, the serial-dieter with the popcorn, the hipster with vegetable curry, and the woman with the unidentified “casserole.” I have no desire to reek of a leftover-funk cocktail for the rest of the day. I’ll trust the little green tree on my rearview mirror to eliminate the vague hint of mustard from my pastrami sandwich, eat in my car, and avoid the break room altogether, thank you very much.
Water cooler conversation may be dull, but at least you can walk away. In the break room, somehow I always wind up sitting across from the recent divorcee who wants to discuss something moronic like Justin Bieber’s latest haircut. Worse, I could wind up sitting by my boss, who of course wants to talk about work. Fuck that. Avoiding conversation in the break room is difficult, and powering through your leftover meatloaf day after day because you have to “hop on a call” or “finish up an urgent report” gets suspicious. Not that I really care if people get suspicious, but suspicion leads to questions, and questions lead to more goddamn conversation. Because HR tends to get annoyed when I shout at people not to talk to me, I instead, avoid the break room.
The (Lack Of) Table Manners
I was raised in a middle-class home. We didn’t wear evening jackets to dinner, nor did we eat off china dishes with real silver utensils. Despite that, my parents still taught me what I thought were universal table manners. I must have been wrong because apparently my upbringing was “privileged” compared to the cave-dwelling Neanderthals I work with. When did it become normal to eat with your mouth gaping wide open?! I outgrew the “see-food” joke in 1st grade for shit’s sake. Combine that with people’s tendency to talk while they eat, and I might as well wear a poncho to lunch. Finally, one of my biggest pet-peeves: if one more person reaches across my plate while I’m trying to eat, I swear to God I will bite them. HR probably won’t like that much either, so it’s probably best that I avoid the lunchroom.
So there you have it. Now do you think I’m rude, anti-social or pretentious? I still don’t particularly care. If you’ll excuse me, I hear a ham & cheese calling my name from the passenger seat.