We have all spent time in a lunchroom. Don’t deny it. It is true. In school, lunchrooms were called cafeterias and many doubled as the gym. Besides lunchtime, if your school had a big enough one, it was the place to go during rainy days to lay volleyball or dodgeball or to huddle in groups and talk about the other groups.
At work, the lunchroom could be small, consisting of a table a fridge, coffee maker and a sink. Oh, let us not forget the microwave. The lunchroom could be a medium size where one is required to sit with people from other departments as space is at a premium. You were forced to smell other people’s food choices. If you were super lucky your company was a melting pot and there were people working there from all over the world. They brought their food too. Stinky food was the worse, food rich in fish or egg content could smell for days in the lunchroom. Oh not to downplay the curry smell, that was one that would permeate everything about it including the person who ingested it.
The lunchroom could be huge, the type that takes up a whole floor of the company building. If you wanted to be alone during your lunchtime, you could without a problem there was enough seating, and space that you could find a table in the corner or by a window and sit by yourself for the hour of lunch you had. If, on the other hand, you wanted to seat with your cubicle mates or those within your dept. that could be done as well. You could sit with your cliché and talk about other people.
The funny thing about the lunchroom be big or small, everyone had there spot, the place where you sat no matter what. If you were the loner, the shy guy or gal who could not muster up the guts to sit next to someone else, to even ask if the seat was empty even though it was, or if you were the ringleader of the gossip group, you sat at the same place every day at lunch, five days a week.
The lunchroom is one of the few things that don’t change much within a company. Managers or bosses come and go, policies change, workload fluctuates, but the lunchroom and the people in it are, for the most, part the same, day after day year after year, the same people, sitting at the same tables and some of them eating the same food. Even those in the group, though, are anonymous. Their friends at work most likely do not know what happens in their lives when they are not at work Of course, some of them get together after work, but to truly know each other to be a part of their lives is rare. If one thinks about how much do you know about your co-workers? Most of us don’t really. We break bread with strangers.
The next couple of weeks I will be sharing some stories of the lunchroom with you. One story a week. Some of the stories are loosely based in reality but are just stories, no real person in depicted. Please remember that even if some of the people sound familiar, that perhaps you worked with one, they are just stories.
I will be posting one a week. I do hope you like them, I think you