Eight Men Eating
Mealtime at my workplace is always an event, whether it’s lunch or dinner. Eight guys getting together and eating a meal can be entertaining. The number one rule is provide enough food… to a realistic degree. There are some stomachs that can hold more food than I thought was humanly possible. They can fend for themselves if they’re still hungry.
If it’s lunch, four of us shop and cook together. There’s usually one guy who makes this process more difficult than it needs to be. If you suggest chili he’ll want to add Hershey’s Syrup and cook it in lard because that’s what his grandfather used to do. This can be trying, but he doesn’t get his way very often because it’s three against one. I’ll have to admit that it can be amusing at times to witness these ridiculous ideas first hand.
When we get back to work it’s a team effort. Occasionally we race to be the one that cuts the vegetables because the same guy wants them cut a certain way and we like to cut them any other way than his… this sounds childish, but we get a kick out of it.
When the meal’s ready the other four guys join us at a very large table. Jockeying for seats happens when there’s something on TV, like a game or What Not to Wear. Occasionally an unsanitary person joins us for dinner and the last guy in the room gets to sit next to him. This cracks everyone up except the guy that has to breath in the foul B.O. or get hit with food flying out of his mouth.
The four cooks also clean up the mess when everyone’s done. This is fair because the other four do everything the next day. It’s all or nothing. The after dinner scenario resembles that of a fifty-kid daycare cafeteria on spaghetti day. Men can be slobs, especially if no women are around.
The next step is payment. Someone fronted the money and needs to recoup it. The amount is divided by eight and written on the white board. Most guys pay right away, but there are usually a couple of stragglers that “forget” until they are reminded or shamed, whichever comes first. These same stragglers bug everyone to pay immediately when they are the collectors. We try to take our time when they do that.
Two days ago I was the collector and something happened that surprised me. One of the guys paid a few dollars in quarters, which is not the norm, but does happen once in a while. Money’s money, I guess. The difference here was that he tried sneaking a Canadian quarter in with the U.S. coins. It sat conveniently on the bottom of the pile. I wouldn’t have minded if he told me up front, but it’s bad etiquette to hide it. When I picked up the money it was easy to deduce who did it, because only two guys we work with would try it and the other guy was off. I took the less worthy coin, but mentioned it to the guy the next day. He turned beat red and we all abused him for a couple of minutes.
That’s kind of how my meals are spent at work. By the way, the food is almost always better than adequate.
No comments yet.