Friday, February 1, 2008

In-Office Pizza Party . . .

We're going to have a pizza party here at work today. No, it is not anyone's 8th birthday. No, we're not playing our last little league game of the season. No, we're not even having our Secret Santa exchange a little bit late. We are having a pizza party for the soul purpose of having some lunch as a group.

I remember when I worked at my PR agency in DC. My boss there would frequently buy lunch for the office on Fridays (there was once a three or four month stretch where he did it EVERY Friday) and we would get food from lots of different places. GREAT places like Old Ebbitt Grill, Red Sage and 1331 and mediocre (but delicious) places like Chipotle, Fuddrucker's and Potbelly too.

I don't know what it is about getting lunch bought for you by "the man" (as in that opressive force that keeps you gainfully employed and pays you for your time and energy) but it always tastes more delicious when "the man" is paying for it. I, of course, had a hard time holding back on the deliciousness that was a free lunch though. I would order two cookies for dessert. I would get three iced teas to drink for no apparent reason. I would get the LARGE order of pasta when the small order was really all you could eat in one sitting. I would get a side salad and a side soup just so I had dinner that night.

I understand, now, that it was largely just my depression and my food dependence as well as my own "screw you, sucker" mentality towards my old boss that drove the over eating and under appreciation that came with the free lunches BUT, at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do.

I tell this story to make a simple point. The days of wine and roses are long gone. I worked for 18 months for my last employer and in that time my boss bought me lunch thrice (including my first day on the job and my second to last day on the job) and I attended three other free meal functions (including an outstanding holiday party where I ate my weight (which was almost 500 pounds at the time) in calamari, gourmet pizza, individual lasagnas and deep fried cheese wedges that were cut to look like my former employer's very recognizable eight-bar logo.

In the meantime - today's pizza party (complete with soda, breadsticks and chicken wings) will be the latest free food adventure I've been offered here at my new job that I won't be partaking in (our staff meetings every Monday morning feature bagels, pastries, donuts, home baked goodies and other foods I can't eat, for instance).

The weird thing is that I don't resent that I can't eat the pizza (I could, technically) or that I can't drink the soda (I don't even miss soda, God as my witness, besides when my allergies get really bad and I can't sip some Sprite to help break up my sinuses like I used to do) or that I can't much on the breadsticks (I'm sort of happy bread is a rare treat in my life these days) or the chicken wings (again, I could eat a chicken wing . . . but why?).

I don't have any ill will towards my employer for not making sure that everyone can eat the free lunch that is offered. While, I have to imagine that if we had severe diabetics here they would be sure to have some diet soda for them or if there were people with peanut allergies we would be more careful about where our food came from, etc., I don't think of my condition as any that people should have to make accomodations for. It was my decision. My choice. I am resposible for it.

As a matter of fact - I am proud of myself when I get in situations where I can't really eat what everyone else is (we went to a wedding reception a few weeks ago where I could eat nothing, literally, on the buffet spread, for instance) because it reminds me that I made a tough decision. I made a life changing decision. I made a vital and needed decision that, for me, was life or death.

In a way, just having that peace of mind is better than any free lunch "the man" could buy for me anyway.

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