Friday, November 23, 2012

The Desk Chair: Black Friday


Well I had a lovely Thanksgiving. My family got along, my homemade green been casserole was a hit, and I owned at Bananagrams. 

I don't want to complain too much about being in the office today, even though it's so quiet I swear I can hear the whir of subatomic particles. After all, I'm being paid to sit here. I'm warm, fed, and caffeinated. And it's actually not anywhere near as soul-crushing as working in retail or food service, despite what I may occasionally say to the contrary. So on this, Black Friday, day of the final Desk Chair installment, I would like to emphasize that I am grateful.

That being said, why on Earth am I here? The phone has rung twice today. Twice. There wasn't even anyone on the other end of the line the second time. And the first call was technically for another branch. So actually, I think we can safely say that there have been zero calls today. Zero. If I haven't already made this clear to you, answering the phone is my entire job

(Update: 3 times. But it was the same guy that called the first time. STILL ZERO.) 

Also, my boss ordered pizza for everyone. Perfect, I was hoping to complete my descent into morbid obesity before the end of the weekend. So far, I've avoided it by taking an angry walk to the store for a yogurt and an apple... but still. There are aromas to contend with. AROMAS. 

The little guilty voice is saying, "some people don't have food at all and you're complaining about aromas?" If I were a person who said "first world problems," I'd probably say it now. But I'm not, because I find it insulting somehow. To everyone. One of these days I'll figure out precisely why. I have a feeling my reasons are at least three-fold. For now, I trust you're intelligent enough to recognize that humorously describing one's relatively minor daily trials and having a keen understanding of the world's many complicated ills are not mutually exclusive. 

Anyway, since we're wrapping things up (I'm taking next week off for Artslife* purposes), I thought I'd do a quick blurb about a few of the suggestions I never got around to:

Parking Tickets
Jessi suggested this. I don't know why. Maybe she got one recently? I haven't gotten a parking ticket in a while. I did, however, get a ticket on the Tobin Bridge recently because I didn't have enough money for the toll. They take down your license plate and bill you later... so you can imagine my delight at finding the guy had written some random combination of letters and numbers that weren't mine at all. He even said they were Connecticut plates. I think he was doing me a solid. I sincerely hope that guy has a wonderful holiday season. 
Artslife
I believe I've mentioned before that my friend Sarah refers to my singing endeavors as "Artslife." It's also sort of a catch-all phrase for any number of things that make her really uncomfortable. For example, "Oh my God, there was this table of drunk Artslife kids who would NOT stop singing Les Miserables" or "That friend of yours is really dramatic. Is she super Artslife or what?" Additionally, it comes in handy if I have something going on that I don't feel like explaining: "Sorry, can't come out this weekend." "Why?" "Oh, you know, Artslife."  
Hugo Chavez

Seems appropriate to end with what was actually the first suggested topic for The Desk Chair series. I've decided that this daunting subject is better left to The Armchair proper and plan to revisit it in the near future. In the meantime, here's a fun fact: Chavez apparently once wanted to be a painter. And a baseball player. And a priest. So. There you have it. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Desk Chair: Banter


Elyse (not to be confused with Elise) suggested a great topic last night: banter. It sprang from a conversation we were having about how I keep accidentally flirting with this one guy at work and how, in my desire to be non-flirtatious (there's no actual interest there), I over-correct and say ridiculous things like, "Well that's a sharp portfolio you got there!" Yes, that is an actual thing I said to another human. The problem is, he always comes up with a witty response to my nonsense and the whole thing circles back and feels like flirting again. Just not talking seems to be the best solution. 

Turns out, though, that writing about "banter" wasn't as fun or as easy I was expecting. I went down this whole weird road from flirting to feminism to my concern with the "Lemonization of the American female" and I started to have no idea what I was talking about. So I scrapped it. 

Elyse had other sub-suggestions. Some of her, uh, requests - for instance, that I should post a picture of Vince Vaughn because he's "good at banter" - I was confident she expected me to ignore. But really, what can you say about it? Nothing. You just do it. And it's fun. And if you're me, you try to win at it because it's totally a competition. 

So instead I looked into another question that arose from the whole incident. My use of the word "portfolio." I realized as soon as I said it that what I really meant was simply "folio," which, as far as I can tell, is just a Trapper Keeper for grownups. I don't totally get the point of it. Especially if you're just going from one room to another within the office. Can't you just... carry whatever it is you need? Are you worried someone's going to come around the corner and everything will shift to black and white and suddenly they won't be able to maintain a hold of their coffee cup and your document will be destroyed

Anyway, it's obvious to me now (and surely to you) that I should have stuck with my original plan to write something about Thanksgiving. So here's something about Thanksgiving: if you say "turkey day" to me I will slap you with the force of a thousand wattles. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Desk Chair: Rain Storms


I'm going to phone this one in. Hard. I don't have yesterday's manic "tea" energy. Maybe because it's a Tuesday and Tuesdays are the worst. Or maybe because it's a holiday week and my thoughts are going something like, "Stuffing. Stuffing. Stuffing. My nose itches. Stuffing. I'm kind of thirsty. Stuffing. I wonder if Richard Branson is genuinely happy? ...Stuffing." But I will soldier on in the name of dumb personal challenges! 

My friend Elise (not to be confused with Elyse, who is also a beautiful brunette from New York) recently offered "rain storms" as a possible topic. I know it's mainly a reference to a semi-inappropriate inside joke we have, but I think I'll just pretend it was suggested out of innocent meteorological curiosity and proceed. 

Obviously, storms are on our collective mind right now. I love storms. I always have. But these days, every new storm seems to be a little less fun and a little more scary. When I take off my Glib Hat (Gibb Hat?) and put on my Fundamentally Concerned About World Issues Hat, I find the lack of dialogue on climate change nothing short of shocking. 

But I have degrees in music. And I'm phoning it in today. So here's an article by someone else: 



Monday, November 19, 2012

The Desk Chair: Tea Time


My dear friend Molly, who currently resides in the United Kingdom, suggested I make a wee posting on tea. I will oblige. Noblesse oblige. Cheryl Tiegs. Cheryl... Tea-gs? This is weird. 

Anyway, I have a complicated relationship with tea. As a devoted coffee drinker, my usual attitude is that of quiet indifference. But as a singer, an Anglophile, and a quasi-adherent to natural remedies, I occasionally feel a strong compulsion to partake. Have I been seen purchasing absurdly expensive teas from my local health food store? Yes, yes I have. Did I have a tea set as a child? You betcha. Have I turned to tea in times of crisis? Absolutely. 

Actually, the more I think about, tea has actually played quite an important role in my life. And here I was thinking about it as nothing more than the lesser hot caffeinated beverage. Jokes aside for a minute, when I look back on a particularly horrible day in college when a serious tragedy caused a great deal of grief among my friends, one of the things I remember most vividly is gathering together and drinking tea. It was the only thing to do. It couldn't be coffee, it couldn't be food, but it had to be something. It never occurred to me how completely British that was. It's amazing the elements of culture we hang on to without even realizing it. Last Christmas, my mother was desperate for the perfect whistling tea kettle. I honestly can't picture my mother ever drinking a cup of tea. But something about a whistling tea kettle is comforting to her. Lately, when my hands have been cold here in the office, I've taken to getting myself a mug of tea. Less for drinking, more for hand warming. But it's always Constant Comment because it's the tea I grew up with (that I don't recall my mother ever drinking) and I find it soothing. (I also made a joke in the kitchen one day about loving it so much that I commented on it constantly. Only in a sterile office workplace would that joke kill. And it did.) 

The list goes on. On my 21st birthday, my parents took me to high tea at the Four Seasons in Boston- one of five memorable tiny-sandwich-tea-times I've experienced in my life. (Gross, how outrageously wasp of me.) In Indiana, my girlfriends and I had a cherished tradition (for like, a year) of Tuesday Night Tea. And obviously there's the whole Boston Tea Party/birth of America thing. Tea! It's everywhere!



Literally. I'm sure we would all have guessed that China is the world's top producer of tea (and, you know, everything else). But would you have guessed that Turkey and Iran also make the top ten? Or Kenya and Argentina? I would have ignorantly assumed it all came from countries in the Asia-Pacific area. But one thing is clear: from Chai to Oolong, from elaborate rituals to every day hospitality- we really are a planet obsessed with tea. Best sentence I've ever written? Probably.* 

Here's an important tea question: Do you believe that "herbal tea" counts as "tea?" I think the purist would make a distinction between real "tea" and "herbal infusions." This topic could get really complicated and I don't care enough to get into it. Peruse the Wikipedia article if you're feeling curious. (General heads-up, if you Google "tea," don't let the existence of the Texas Education Agency, or "TEA," confuse you. Do not pour boiling water over them.) 

Finally, I can't wrap this up without first sharing with you a tea that I HATELapsang Souchong. It is vile. It's like someone liquefied a campfire, but in a bad way. My friend Carl loves it. Carl is an idiot. 



*Best sentence I've read recently: "After gaining 500 feet, I felt like an insect flying over an enormous conveyor belt in a croissant factory." George Steinmetz on sand dunes. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Desk Chair: The Feast


Ok, so the content of this post was not inspired by anyone's suggestion, but in a moment, you'll understand why there was no other option but to write the following. 

Today was the office's "family feast." Delicious Thanksgiving catering, an employee side-dish contest, and general (booze-free) merriment. Part of the party took place in the large conference room directly to my right. The boundary is a plate glass operation complete with large, plate glass doors. For the occasion, one of said doors was propped open for easier access to pie and comradery (by the way, look into the spelling of comradery if you feel like being confused).

Now, I can't even begin to explain why, but the presence of one shut door and one open door side by side really confused people. So much so, that one of the facilities guys... wait for it... walked directly into the closed door. I heard a sound that can only be described as a cartoon "boiiiiiing" and looked over to see a stricken Jose (name changed to protect the potentially mortified) rubbing his face and swallowing his pride. A contingent of marketing and HR girls who saw the whole thing go down were admirably stone faced as they asked whether he was okay. He was. Which is good because as soon as I saw the comical smear his face left on the glass, I couldn't contain my laughter. 

As soon as he was safely gone, I went in to the conference room to confirm that I had seen what I thought I'd seen. A fit of hysteria ensued, during which I learned that the whole situation was especially hilarious to the people in the conference room because someone else had done the same thing earlier... from the other side

The moral of the story? I have no idea. Two different dudes tried to walk through the same plate glass door today. That's all I got. 

Um, also: If you're wondering why a Google image search for "walking into glass door" gets you a bunch of pictures of Justin Bieber, this is why. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Desk Chair: The Bus Game


If you noticed my two day hiatus- awesome. I hope you've been waiting with bated breath for a new post. If, on the other hand, the last 48 hours were sheer torture for you, it's possible you're a little too into me. Or you don't recognize mediocre writing. Or both. 

Anyway, I was away from The Desk Chair because I was, literally, away from the desk chair, engaging in, you know, relevant real life activities. (Well, insofar as classical singing is "relevant." A debate for a different blog...) As is often the case, part of my most recent real life adventure involved riding a bus to New York. Arguably, the worst thing ever. 

Ok, not the worst thing. Especially now that I have it down to a science. If you've never had the pleasure, allow me to offer you some tips:

For a slightly better than horrible ride, you will need:

  • Dramamine
  • Ear plugs
For a tolerable ride:

  • Dramamine
  • Ear plugs
  • Socks and Blanket
  • Snacks 
For an almost pleasant ride:

  • Dramamine
  • Ear plugs
  • Socks
  • Snacks
  • Fully charged electronic device and charger
  • Reading material
For an actually, quite lovely ride:

  • Dramamine
  • Ear plugs
  • Socks and Blanket
  • Snacks
  • Fully charged electronic device and charger
  • Reading material
  • Working electrical sockets
  • A seat to yourself

Ah, the seat to oneself. Beautiful. Elusive. Worth fighting for

But how?

First of all, unless you're a real amateur, you're in line early and you're one of the first to board. Otherwise, I can't help you. No one can. Yours is a fight for mere survival. As the bus fills, anyone traveling alone will naturally fill any empty two seat unit. (With the exception of this one girl last night who asked to sit with someone even though there were still empty two-seaters... anarchy!) Once there's at least one person in each two-seat unit, you've reached the tricky part. If, like me, you've counted the number of people waiting for the bus and compared it to the bus capacity, you know your next move. If it's clear the bus will be completely filled, you give up. You organize your belongings in the best possible way and hope against hope that your seat partner isn't enormous and/or smelly (I suggest making eye contact with the first tolerable person that comes down the aisle to improve your odds). But, if it's clear that the number of remaining passengers means some singles will have seat partners and others won't, it's game time



Here's what usually works for me:
  • Immediately upon taking your seat, spread out all of your belongings. 
  • Find something that crinkles, like a wrapper or a piece of trash. Crinkle it with abandon.
  • Unpack and repack at will as though you're desperately looking for something.
  • Sigh loudly. (A step below muttering.)
  • Look out the window as though you're waiting for someone.
  • Furiously text.
  • Don't commit to either seat. Straddle both and/or stand while you crinkle, unpack, and loudly sigh. 

Admittedly, the whole process would be a lot easier if I weren't resistant to looking actually crazy and not just frazzled and annoying... or if I didn't mind straight-up refusing to let anyone sit with me. As I mentioned in a recent facebook status, not being a sociopath is really inconvenient.

But last night, I think I finally found the golden ticket. 

Hummus. In a moment of inspiration, I opened it. Then I sort of held it out, almost in the aisle, while I did my normal rifling-through-stuff routine. Worked like a charm. Smelly and messy enough to discourage a potential seat partner, but not so smelly and messy that it elicited any kind of serious ire from nearby travel companions. I think I was one of two people without a seat partner by game's end. HUMMUS WINS AGAIN. (Incidentally, I really like those little Sabra hummus and pretzel combos, but the pretzel to hummus ratio is seriously off, amiright?)

Come back tomorrow. I think I'm going to take Molly up on her tea suggestion.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Desk Chair: Spooning


Last week, something amazing happened in the kitchen. 

For some reason, this office seems to have a plethora of over-sized spoons. You know the kind: too small to be a serving utensil, but somehow big enough to make it look like your yogurt has shrunk. So I assumed the gentleman determinedly rifling through the silverware drawer was trying to locate one of the few, illusive normal spoons. When I said as much, I discovered that he was, in fact, looking for his favorite spoon. A spoon unrivaled in modern design. A spoon praised (by this guy) for it's weight, balance, and vaguely Japanese decoration. When at last he found it and showed it to me, I realized with alarm...

...it was my spoon. 

Well, technically it's my roommate David's spoon. I brought it to work a while back and forgot about it after putting it in the dishwasher. Of course, I made the mistake of mentioning this to Spoon Guy (new nickname) and we had to have a whole awkward exchange about whether or not I wanted it back. "No, no! Please, just keep it, " I said, assuring him we had about fifty more just like it. Apparently I don't have a problem playing fast and loose with David's possessions. Hopefully it's not some rare set of spoons that's been passed down for generations. 

I happen to know, now, thanks to Spoon Guy, that the random spoon in your office could, in fact, be valuable. For example, he once found a lovely stainless steel spoon in the kitchen that struck his fancy. A collector of such things, he researched its resale value and discovered it was worth about $65. A single spoon. $65. Being an upstanding gentleman, Spoon Guy asked around the office, but nobody claimed it. 

The moral of the story is this: run to your nearest shared kitchen space and find a valuable spoon of your own! (And don't tell David I gave his away.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Desk Chair: My Favorite Crop


One of Sally's suggestions at the beginning of this project was to write about my "favorite crop." Since one of my more recent posts was a rambling piece of idiocy about corn, I thought another post about anything agricultural was best avoided for the time being. But, I'm running out of suggestions (pump it up, guys) and it seemed like a good, weird choice for a Friday afternoon when I'm running on fumes.

So, without further ado, here is my favorite crop:



Just kidding. See what I did there? It's a haircut. A cropped haircut. 

But anyway, the answer to this question is that I don't have a favorite crop. Does anyone? Yes. Sally's favorite crop, as I correctly guessed, is soy. I'm not sure why. Maybe she should write a guest segment outlining her reasons. I assume it's not because it wreaks havoc with our hormones. 

Where to begin? This subject could take us in a number of directions. The world's oldest crops. The world's weirdest crops. Crop circles. Cropped photos. The impending food shortage. Crops and robbers. Crop tarts. Crop goes the weasel. Frankly, I don't know. I think I'll go the cop out (crop out) route and make a list. 

Crop Facts

  • China is the world's largest wheat producer. 
  • 95% of the flaxseed grown in the United States is grown in North Dakota
  • Sorry Sally, but Iowa grows the most soybeans with 15% of the nation's harvest
  • Iowa also wins at corn
  • Unsurprisingly, 32% (the majority) of Italy's sunflower seeds come from Toscana. Piemonte, on the other hand, is only at 1%. Step up your game, Piemonte!
  • In Germany, Brandenburg wins for Rye production. And concertos. 
  • Cropped pants are almost universally unflattering. But we all wear them anyway. 

Have a nice weekend and please take a moment to congratulate me, silently or aloud, for "writing" every day this week. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Desk Chair: A Pictorial History of the Overall


Overalls seem like an apt subject for The Desk Chair as they have long been synonymous with hard work and general toil. (Since about 1891, in fact.) This request comes from my friend Bill, professional Guy Who Does Crazy Things Like Suggest You Write About Overalls. 

For reference, here is a link to the surprisingly helpful Wikipedia page about the overall. 

Read that, and then peruse these pictures (not at all in chronological order) of people in overalls.  I'm not even going to bother with captions because it's pretty obvious why most of them are hilarious. 





























Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Desk Chair: Eye of Sauron


Turns out it's hard to write a new post every day. It requires a pretty monumental effort. This is probably an important lesson for me given that I still harbor pipe dreams of travel writing (as if that career still exists) and journalism (also on the wane). Granted, part of the problem today is that I'm very tired from staying up late eating popcorn and watching election coverage. Though I hesitate to take a strong political stance on so public a forum, I do have one important point to share. When it comes to the manual popping of corn, I have emerged from this election firmly pro-vegetable oil. At first, I came under a lot of pressure from the powerful olive oil lobby which, until my friend Seth went to the store, had a complete monopoly over the apartment's oil supply. But, in the end, vegetable oil's superior ability to pop a vast majority of its kernel allotment in a timely fashion won the day. 

Anyway, I've managed to do a lot of things today that weren't writing a hilarious and informative post about Hugo Chavez or climate change (neither of which are very hilarious), and I'd like to share that list with you now:

  • Watched YouTube videos of singers... without audio
  • Played the Harry Potter Top 200 Sporcle game
  • Got a new high score in Temple Run
  • Compiled a list of an acquaintance's most offensive facebook statuses and emailed it to a friend
  • Researched the calorie content of my lunch
  • Prepared three cups of tea
  • Chatted with a coworker about the guy who eats all the food (and subsequently realized more of my walnuts were missing)
  • Looked through a photo gallery of celebrities voting
  • Signed up for a Birchbox account
  • Got up to look at the snow
  • Changed my profile picture
Pretty grim. Hopefully tomorrow I can muster the energy to be substantive. 
In other news. There's a new dinosaur. His name is Sauron. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Desk Chair: Offpocalypse, Part II


After yesterday's post, I'm feeling pretty good about my prospects in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic Satan pit ("Satan pit" is an alternative to "hellscape" that I'm trying out). 

There are only two more items of absolute necessity:

The first is a container of Clorox wipes. Practical, given that we'll all be stewing in our own filth and excrement in a matter of weeks? Probably not. But I think they will help ease the transition.

The second item is more controversial: one of the many photos of the permanent receptionist's daughter. Why? So I can pass her off as my own missing child and thereby gain access to extra sympathy and supplies. I think it's a stroke of genius. 

So, here's the final list:

iPhone
Charger
Sunglasses
Coat
Sharpie
Ibuprofen
Alcohol Wipes
Superglue 
Groceries
Caution tape
String
Letter openers
Scissors
Screwdrivers
Compressed air
Clorox wipes
Photo

Technically, I no longer have the Trader Joe's bags in which I was planning to carry all of these things. But I think we can safely pretend it's yesterday. I also have my small, over-the-shoulder purse and a canvas tote bag, so I think I'm set. Ideally, I would duct tape the weapons to my body (duh) but there doesn't seem to be any duct tape in my vicinity. Scotch tape would almost certainly be a disaster. 

If I managed to get all this together in under two minutes, which of the following would you recommend I do:

1. Run to the kitchen to try to grab a trash bag or two for minor protection against the elements. 
2. Run to the IT department to steal that one guy's skateboard so I can wheel my supplies along behind me. (Obviously, this will be easy to rig up since I have a ball of string.)


Let me know what you think and best of luck to us all...

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Desk Chair: Offpocalypse, Part I


Today's inspiration comes from the incomparable Sally Ronald, constant Gchat companion, former Jeopardy contestant, and friend in real life: 

"The world is about to descend into some sort of post-apocalyptic chaos. Riots in the streets, etc. You have 2 minutes to gather supplies that you can carry with you from the office. What do you take?
GO." 

Now, I happen to know that Sally has been watching a lot of The Walking Dead lately. But she assures me this is not meant to have anything to do with zombies. That's good, because I know nothing about zombies.That's one corner of nerd culture I'm happy to have avoided thus far, apart from somehow knowing that you need to get them in the head in order to "kill" them. Actually, is there really anything else to know? Maybe that's it. Never mind, I'm a zombie expert. 

So anyway, no zombies... just a barren hellscape (I think I'm starting to overuse "hellscape") with wandering bands of violent sub-humans. Or at least a bunch of increasingly crazed regular humans that will eventually descend into sub-humanity. As I only have two minutes and it's likely the office itself will have erupted into chaos (which I already experienced once during The Great Coffee Changeover of 2011: Pots to Pods), I'm going to limit the parameters even further to just the reception area and nearby supply closet. 



A couple things are pretty obvious. I would certainly take my iPhone and charger (which I brought in to work with me today, fortuitously), my new aviator sunglasses (so I can look cool while I defend myself against Piggy and the gang), and my coat. I would also start by replacing unnecessary purse items with more useful small supplies. For example, a black sharpie in place of my Dior mascara, ibuprofen and alcohol wipes in place of gum, and super glue in place of my checkbook. 

In another fortuitous twist, I went to Trader Joe's today for lunch and decided to stock-up on some work food. Here's what I have immediately on hand:

- 1 Apple
- 2 packages of 100 calorie dark chocolate bars (9 bars in total- I ate one). 
- 15 ounces of dry roasted, unsalted almonds
- 16 ounces of crunchy almond butter
- 11 individually wrapped string cheeses (ate one of those, too)
- 2 Greek yogurts
- 2 Kind bars
- Organic popping corn
- Half a Thai style pasta salad

On the one hand, it seems impractical to burden myself with all that food, but on the other hand, having that much ready sustenance seems like it could give me a real leg up. So, bag of groceries also makes the list. 

In the tools and weapons category, I'm also doing pretty well. Here's the run-down of options:

- 4 pairs of scissors
- 3 screwdrivers (2 Phillips heads and a flat-head)
- A random piece of metal piping I found in the closet, light enough to carry but heavy enough to incapacitate.
- 2 staplers
- What looks like 200 staple removers
1 three-hole punch
- Calculator
- Tape measure
- Letter opener 
- Velcro
- Batteries
- 2 compressed air dusters
- A role of caution tape
- A ball of string

Sally insists I don't need the caution tape ("It's the apocalypse, Julia"), but I think it could come in handy. I could set up a bunch of fake hazards around my hide-out to throw people off. Sure, the roving bands would eventually be like, "Wait, it's the apocalypse, why are we worried about a little bit of caution tape?" but people are pretty deeply conditioned to follow rules, so I think it could at least buy me some time. 

The ball of string is a must. Didn't Frodo and Sam have a ball of twine that came in handy a few times? Or am I thinking of something else? Regardless, I'm bringing the string.

I will also take the letter opener. Sharp, lightweight, and in the event that the postal service survives the nuclear winter, I will avoid paper cuts. 

Two pairs of scissors should suffice. When one gets dull I can sharpen it with the letter opener, then I'll always have a sharp pair of scissors. 

I'll take two of the three screwdrivers: one Phillips, one flat. If I can find an Allen wrench, I'll be totally set if we need to build Ikea furniture to survive. 

(Update: I found a second letter opener. I will take both.) 

And finally, the cans of compressed air will also come along, mostly because they're highly flammable. Seems useful. 


I think that's a good start. Tune in tomorrow for Part II. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Desk Chair: Office Candy


My friend Jessi's suggestion to write something (anything) about food is particularly apt in this, the treat-filled holiday nightmare that is the American workplace from about October 30th to February 15th. In fact, not five minutes ago, I was told enthusiastically, "There are FULL SIZED candy bars in the break room!" I hung my head. It was hard enough surviving this week's onslaught of miniature Snickers and boxes of Munchkins without having to deal with anything bigger. Speaking of Munchkins ("doughnut holes," if you're some kind of freak who's never been to a Dunkin Donuts), are there people out there who genuinely enjoy them? Every time I have one, I'm disappointed... and then inexplicably want five more. Might as well just have a whole doughnut and experience the disappointment only once. 

Obviously, this won't be a post about healthy eating, even though I could say a lot of great things about the Whole Foods Cafe we're lucky enough to have at this office complex. That kind of thing is best left to Gwyneth Paltrow or Jessi Haggerty. Instead, as armchair temporary receptionists, I would like you to follow me on a brief and informal journey of exploration into the candy habits of the North American office worker. The following are three of my personal observations:

1. If you build it, they will come.  

Until yesterday, we had horrible candy at the reception desk. I mean, Smarties? Sure, that one IT guy loves them (he would), but everyone else walked by and said, "Ugh, no chocolate?" And yet, mysteriously, almost all of them would take something anyway. To me, suffering through a package of Smarties or, God forbid, a Tootsie Roll, is far worse than no candy at all. Not so for the people of this office. If it's there, someone will eat it. Granted, that's just true everywhere, always.

2. That one intern will take all the Peanut Butter Cups.

When delicious candy magically appeared in the reception bowl yesterday (which was November 1st, so obviously somebody had been hoarding the good stuff), I was eagerly anticipating a mid-afternoon Peanut Butter Cup. But then they disappeared, presumably into the gullet of the intern who covers my breaks. I've since discovered that he's also dipped into my desk walnuts. I sincerely hope they make his throat feel weird. 

3. Candy will continue to appear, even on November 2nd when you thought you were safe. 

When I started writing this post, the reception bowl was gone. I don't know how it happened, but somehow... it's back. I was ticked off. Then someone stopped to grab a piece and felt compelled to tell me my hair looked nice. Maybe the candy bowl isn't so bad. 



Some Other Things: 

An article about office candy from the Wall Street Journal.

Here are some people who have thought about office candy a lot. 

And finally, a candy quiz, just for fun. 


Thanks for the suggestion, Jessi! Keep 'em comin y'all!