Friday, June 20, 2014

The Corporate Fridge

As a careful reader of this blog might surmise, I changed jobs a few months back. I went from “Tiny Company Overly Dependent On One Contract” to “Colossal Government Contractor”. The whys and mechanics of that move are the subject for another blog entry which, given enough time and wherewithal I might write. On to the important focus of today’s epic tome, The Corporate Fridge.

The transition has been an enlightening experience. On one hand, the anonymity of being another mere cubicle dweller in this vast enterprise has its advantages. I rarely see my boss and my work is mostly misunderstood by my peers, so there is little chance for conflict. In fact, I suspect that I can go days without having to speak to anyone directly. That makes for a very low pressure work environment.

That being said, there are certainly disadvantages to my new haunts. Let me set the stage for my latest encounter. First, since I labor in relatively anonymity, I can determine my own hours. Being a guy that actually enjoys taking full advantage of a lovely (and sometimes not so lovely) day, I have chosen to work very early hours, leaving my afternoons free for outdoor fun. What goes hand in hand with that kind of lifestyle is eating some disgustingly healthy (but tasty) food. I of course have documented my paleo obsession elsewhere on this blog, so I will leave it up to you to explore the tags and find out more about that.

Suffice it to say I had (as I try to do most days) brought my lunch. I know what you are thinking. “But Mike, since you work for a Colossal Government Contractor surely they have a cafeteria where you can buy a healthy meal?” I must admit that they do, and they have a lovely salad bar where I can assemble a very paleo friendly salad. The down side of that is Colossal Government Contractor has done the smart thing and contracted out their cafeteria to Small Company Leeching Off Of Colossal Government Contractor. This was a very good deal for Colossal Government Contractor and Small Company Leeching Off Of Colossal Government Contractor. The fact that a reasonable salad, self-assembled, containing perhaps two dollars of rough ingredients (if that) cost a mere $9 dollars makes it a win-win for all concerned… as long as you’re not the one paying for it.

So yes, I packed my lunch. What was for lunch today? Here’s the list..

First we have Asian Chopped Salad. The whole chopped salad thing is one I am trying to decide if I like. I have had the Southwest Chopped Salad, and I like the crunch, even though the size of the green stuff in the salad is more reminiscent of coleslaw than a real salad. In fact, I think most of the stuff in the salad is cabbage, giving the ‘chopped salad’ a close kinship to coleslaw, but significantly different from what I, as a southerner, recognize as such.

Let me explain. Back in the days of my misspent youth I worked in a restaurant that specialized in fried fish. I say specialize as if there were no other restaurants in the mid-south that made fried fish dinners. To the contrary, I would wager at the time there were not any restaurants in the tri-state area that served unfried fish, sushi not yet being a thing in the south at that time. The coleslaw there was made in the southern way. What did that mean? We threw cabbage and carrots into a big chopping mixer, and then poured in salad dressing and two heaping cans of sugar. In the south, man does not live by fried stuff and sweet tea alone. It’s amazing the whole southern US did not tip over with the massively obese people this kind of food produced. It’s probably because the massively obese people of the north eating their fried cod and pizza provided balanced. Thank God we all eat better now or the US would be facing a scary heath care crisis. What? Oh… never mind…

Next I had my snacks. I eat pretty much all day, so it is important that I am oversupplied with snacks. These consist mostly of fruits of various types. I had apples left in my desk from yesterday, so today’s haul consisted only of a small bag of strawberries and a smallish armored plastic container of rough cut pineapple. I note armored as there is really no other way to describe it. It looks deceptively simple to open. There is a plastic strip running along the top edge, with tiny words I can only assume say “tear me off to eat the delicious stuff inside. It’s so easy any idiot could do it. What are you, an idiot?” I imagine it says this as I do not have a scanning electron microscope to verify what is written there. Somewhere in China there is probably a sweatshop of tiny people with tiny little magic plastic writing pens scripting curses to fat Americans in a language they don’t understand. This is my limited worldview.

The clever manufacturer has also applied a strip of ‘never-open’ glue to the rim of the lid of the container. This is in case the pineapple contents decided to rebel against their incarceration, remove the plastic strip using their Jedi pineapple mind powers, and burst forth on the world as berserk blood hungry chucks of pineapple goodness. The alternative to breaching the armored top is to pull out my wicked pocket knife and start hacking away. I have found that when I do this in the break room the sight of a stabbing wicked pocket knife seems to make my coworkers nervous. It probably doesn’t help that I am grunting (screaming really) “Die you bastard pineapple!” under my breath (at the top of my lungs). Thus, I confine my armored pineapple container hacking to the relative privacy of my cubicle. While the container ensure the pineapple can’t escape, is does nothing to ensure that the fruit inside will not quickly rot if left at room temperature. For it and my fancy chopped salad, refrigeration is required.

You may recall that I noted at the top of this post that I work flex hours, arriving at my cubicle before the crack of dawn. At that hour, my entire floor is like a scene from a video game where everyone has turned into Nazi zombies and the vast caverns of hauntingly empty offices are inhabited by gibbering brain matter eating horrors. You can literally hear the stainless steel rats not moving. Being a logical person, you would assume that since I am literally the first (living) person on the floor in the morning I would have a completely empty fridge at my disposal. After all, these fridges are not for families, but for solitary workers who bring their lunch, consume it at the appropriate time, and then no longer require refrigerant services. Also consider that due to the size of my cubicle wonderland, there are two very large fridges in our break room. You would of course be wrong. Here’s what I found:

I can only assume that the containers and bags there have left over brain matter from the gibbering Nazi zombies. It is amazingly precognizant of them to store their goods in this matter. In the future, I believe I will have to be on guard and have my wicked pocket knife at the ready when I enter their domain. At least as long as I continue to have an edible brain.

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