Peanut Butter Birthday

An announcement is made over the intercom at your office that the September Birthday celebration is starting in the break room. You, already having three protein bars on top of your sushi lunch, decide to skip. You stomach aches from the fiber filled bars. You weren’t even hungry by your second bar. You ate out of boredom. And then ate another.

A few minutes pass and your friend asks if you’ll walk to the September Birthday celebration. You agree. You and him walk over the to break, yet it’s a bit of a struggle, given the other employees walking toward you, already having collected their snacks.

Several large cardboard boxes sit atop the tables in the break room. Inside each box, a different ice cream pop. You’re still not hungry, but the Reese’s Peanut Butter one catches your attention. You take one, and walk back with your friend back to your cube.

For the next hour the Reese’s ice cream sits on your desk, melting. You are proud of yourself for being disciplined enough to not eat the bar when your stomach aches.

Instead, you reach for your last protein bar and enjoy it. The flavor is peanut-butter chocolate.

Oatmeal Stares

Every morning I make myself oatmeal for breakfast at the office. However, I don’t use the microwave. I use the hot water from the cooler. The temperature seems to fluctuate day to day, but it always works out. In the end, I have my oatmeal.

Some mornings while I’m preparing my breakfast, some girl walks in with her own packet of oatmeal. So there we are, both of us, preparing our oatmeal. Yet she gives me what I think to be a disgusted side glance. This, I’m assuming, is because I make three packets of oatmeal for breakfast. That’s right, three. I’m pretty damn hungry in the morning, and three packets has been my standard since college. Perhaps I’m just paranoid. Maybe I just take my oatmeal too seriously.

And guess what? Despite the seriousness, the paranoia, it still doesn’t fill me. I’m hungry by eleven despite eating my oatmeal at nine. I don’t know how one packet could possibly fill anyone…

And by the way, I make three packets of PLAIN oatmeal. How’s that for tough?

Waiting at Photocopier

You stand at the photocopier, waiting for the fifty pages of reports to print. Only you think it’s fifty pages, it could be more. It’s not like you checked on the preview menu how many pages were to print.

Your co-worker walks over, the girl who sits across from you. You two never say anything, thought you’ve been cube neighbors for almost a month.

“You’re not going to take long are you?” she asks.

“Nope, almost done,” you say. You’re lying. You have not a damn clue how many pages your printing and when you’ll be finished.

“Ok, otherwise I’d just go to another printer. It’s just one page,” she says.

The pressure is on. You start to sweat, hoping that each printed page will be the last. She folds her arms and shifts her weight to onto her left leg. You see her growing impatience, yet you are helpless. You stare straight at the printer, avoiding her eyes. You feel ashamed.

You estimate how many pages have been spitted out and start counting from there. What feels like an hour has only been a minute if that. You turn your head and glance down the hall, hoping something will distract you, but there’s nothing save a closed office door.

Without saying a word she walks back to her cubicle. You’ve failed. She now thinks you’re a liar. The first time you say something to her and it’s a lie.

A loud, piercing beep comes from the printer, you lean over to the small screen to see what’s the matter. There’s a paper jam. You are an analyst, and therefore not authorized to fix the printer. You’re not sure what page the report stopped at, and decide to trash the printed pages and send the report to a different printer. You’re ashamed at yourself for unintentionally lying to your female cube neighbor, and for killing trees.