Thursday, August 25, 2005
staff appreciation luncheon
First, you follow the crowd to what you hope is the big room with all the food. At the hall’s entrance, the crowd splits in several directions as they look around for friends and a seat at the table, where 10 fennel salads with stinky cheese sprinkled on top form a circle. You stand at the door and look lost. You think things like...mmm! The tables look nice! That salad looks good! Centerpieces aren’t too shabby! Where should I sit?! I don’t really want to be here right now!
Then, you find a seat next to the woman on your left who doesn’t talk, just eats. Furiously. Or looks at the centerpiece. You introduce yourself warmly, but not warmly enough. Please remember that to the woman on your left, the salad is more important than you or anything else. She hasn't eaten for 15 months. So don’t expect an instant BFF when there's a free salad in front of her. Just who do you think you are?
The woman on your right (because you apparently work with a lot of women) is completely engaged in conversation with the woman on her right, barely making an effort to say hello as you sit down.
You feel grateful that the salad is there waiting for you to dig into, because it gives you something to do besides stare at no one in particular for too long and think about the dorkiness that is you right now. You take your time eating it, because you’re not sure how long it will be until they bring out the chicken. Yes, of course it’s going to be chicken.
While eating your stinky fennel salad, you overhear little bits of conversation on a vast array of curiously fascinating subjects: the contest of Who’s Got the Crappiest Commute Into the City, and Which Zoo Did You Take Your Kids To Last Weekend? Jon Benet Ramsey. Jon Benet Ramsey?! That kid died like a million years ago?!
At one point, when they are on the Zoo topic, someone suggests that if you want to see the greatest zoo in the world, visit the country of Africa! There’s a lull after this comment. Now you will finish chewing the lettuce in your mouth, put your life in your hands and contribute something to the conversation. You say, “where the people are in cages, and the animals can roam free, right?”
You immediately fork another bite of salad, put it in your mouth, and look up. This is the part where you notice silence. They just stare at you eating your salad and you just stare back because your mouth is full, and you can’t say anything without something foreign flying out of your mouth, so nobody talks for like three minutes. Suffice it to say, they don’t know what you mean, and you never should talk again.
Once you’ve swallowed, you attempt to clarify by saying that the car you’re in serves as a roaming “cage” if you will...but then you just forget it because they’ve moved on to another subject.
By the way, this episode will make you self-conscious, which will bring about the more rapid consumption of what's left of your stinky salad. The man takes your plate away, and your nightmare has come true. You now have nothing to distract you. The chicken isn’t coming. The chicken isn’t coming. So you stare at no one in particular for too long and think about the dorkiness that is you right now.
Right about the time the chicken comes, the speeches start. The director of human resources, with the really tacky tie, gets up to the podium and proceeds to read from his paper with the eloquence and skill of a 7 year-old. Then, he introduces the President who gives an inspiring (read: tired) speech about the past, the present, and the future of your company. But hey, at least you’ve got chicken. You notice they left the skins on, and that’s a little gross.
After the speech, you come to the Raffle, or in other words, the open bribery segment. The reason why people go to these dang things at all. It is here when you watch fashionably challenged staff stand up and receive gift certificates as their raffle numbers are read from the microphone. You pretend to not care that your name wasn’t called for any of the prizes, especially when the other girl with the orange sweater wins THE FREAKIN’ IPOD YOU’VE BEEN WANTING FOR LIKE SIX MONTHS NOW AND ARE TOO STINKIN’ POOR TO BUY BECAUSE THIS NON-PROFIT SALARY STINKS! You are very, very happy for orange sweater girl. Very happy. She deserves it. Even though you've never met her. Everything goes into slow motion as the beautiful unopened Ipod box moves from the President’s hand to the orange sweater. You seriously think about crying just a little bit.
You eat your freakin’ piece of chocolate cake as a consolation prize, at which time the torture is over. You are free to leave. You gave your gratuitous applause to all the hard-working people there, and now you can go back to your desk and feel like poop because you ate too much, and no one got the one comment you dared to make about stinkin’ Africa, and you were literally inches from a free Ipod.
And there’s only 11 more months before you get to do it all over again.
cicada: go with God. I want a report of any strange conversations with strangers you may have.
g: that is so true. if nothing bad ever happened to us, what the heck would be blogging about anyway?
What the freak? It's bread!!! They have to throw it out anyhow, bread is mega perishable! Dumb, dude.
EVERYONE: MANDA POSTED TODAY! CLICK ON HER NAME AND CHECK OUT HER BLOG; IT'S TOO FUNNY!
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