Friday, June 17, 2005

The Corporate Food Suck

I recently started working in Corporate World again, which is cool, but I completely forgot -- like Fried Shit Amnesia -- about the eating habits of cubicle dwellers. In the lunchroom there is one, big sabotage after another usually left in the kitchen without warning. Just dropped off on the table supposedly a little treat for everyone but in fact it's just plain evil.

I don't know why I was so shocked to see two huge boxes of donuts in the lunchroom yesterday morning. I even looked around like the donuts were illegal; like it was a mound of glazed amphetamines. The sight of that many donuts -- there must've been four dozen -- with hardened edges like they'd been fried in year-old oil, piled and sticking to each other looked obscene. The smell of melted, stale lard and sucrose was heavy in the air, and I dodged it like it was a noxious gas. I said, aloud, "Who actually still eats this shit?" which immediately, I realized, sounded elitist and bitchy -- but seriously, who can eat that crap when you know the donuts will just ball themselves up at the pit of your gut and then in a matter of minutes explode out of your ass. It's a matter of SECONDS if you're eating them with coffee.

When lunchtime rolled around there were only remnants of pick-over donuts because it seems that stealthily everyone had nibbled from them without witness. It's a Corporate-World rule: If there is food left on the office lunchroom table, it will be gone by the time you return, but you won't ever know who ate it. If there is food left in the company refrigerator, it will be gone within a day even if your name is magic markered all over the container. Just company rules.

So, lunchtime comes, and the warehouse says, "I'm making a lunch run, do you guys want anything?" I say, "Where are you going?" They say, "Weinerschnitzel." Loudly, I say, "What?" And sure enough they come back with chili dogs that smell like dog food and french fries and cokes . . . I don't know why that type of food looks so foreign to me now. Maybe 'cause when I worked at the health food store we were aghast if someone got even a diet coke. The raw foodies looked down on us for eating shit that was cooked -- that's how the hierarchy went there. The Corporate Food Suck is just back to some primal eating habits.

I remember when I was at the top of corporate food chain, when I worked at my last big desk job a few years ago. December was the feeding frenzy especially, when we couldn't get enough, and we'd wait for vendors to send us huge gourmet baskets filled with lemon-tart almonds and frog pate and ginger-tamarind popcorn and 145 different types of fudge -- all kinds of shit. And when the baskets would land, we'd flock around like button-down vultures and claim our favorites. We'd gather and horde; we'd tear right into packages and take ravenous bites out of things without the help of utensils. Sausages would be left with teeth marks in them and Sees Candies would be peeled open to discover contents. But eventually everything from the basket would be devoured even the things we liked least like, the horseradish mustard or wasabi licorice. Didn't matter. We'd eat it.

And now it all seems so grotesquely funny. I'm not really so embarrassed by my past glutinous stories as I am seriously amused by them. I'm thankful to feel removed from that now. Though we'll see how long it takes for the Der Weinerschnitzel requests to wear me down.

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