So I’m at work with a smile on my face, like a clown, except my shoes are of regular proportion...which is no reflection on my manhood. I’m smiling because my stomach was crying, but lunchtime has arrived, so now my stomach is giving me an internal high five, which kinda feels like heartburn. ‘We’re gonna be ok’ I say to my belly, gently tapping it. A co-worker see’s me and gives me a look so I quickly shift to tapping my pockets and looking confused like I had misplaced my keys.
I slam the door open with an urgency that suggested my food was going to pass its expiry date in the next 10 minutes. ‘LUNCHTIME IS HERE’ I want to cheer. There is also a dance I wish to accompany this cheer with that relies on a significant shake of the tooshie. I can not do these things however, because it appears I have disturbed the peace of the canteen by slamming the door in my excitement. I’m now standing by the doorway as seven people stare at me in disbelief. Disgust even. It’s as if I have burst into a library, broke out the tambourines, and started a musical striptease singing ‘It’s Raining Men’. The canteeners are not impressed. I whisper an apology and find myself a seat next to a guy we’ll call Gary. It’s ridiculously quiet in here!! You can hear a pin drop....and cry for it’s mother....then the sound of a plaster being put on...and the ‘I told you so’ lecture, stating ‘this is why pins shouldn’t ride in hot air balloons’. IT’S QUIET!! I look around, everybody has returned to their lunches. Newspapers are being rustled. Mobile phones are being tickled. Left over pasta bakes are being sloppily consumed, with bits being left on faces. It’s a gathering of individuals. Individuals who are content in their individual spaces. Individuals who share no interest in conversing with the other individuals in the room. Here QUIET is desired. QUIET is king. QUIET is GOD!! and all those who do not abide by QUIET’s rules will be damned!! But I have no interest in breaking these rules, for I have a sandwich to devour. I whip out my lunch faster than an 18 year old whips out their ID to buy alcohol for the first time, and spread the contents in front of me like I’m on Ready, Steady, Cook.
A sandwich, filled with ham, lettuce and cucumber. A chocolate bar, a packet of Chilli Heatwave Doritos and a bottle of Ribena....the yucky strawberry one...apparently the newsagent didn't sell the blackcurrant one.....although in hindsight I may have asked for a blackberry, it would explain why he pointed at the Carphone Warehouse across the road. As I eye up my options I notice that Gary has almost the exact same lunch as me, except, instead of a chocolate bar he has an orange. Eugh, I am appalled at the choice of health over taste, not me, I’d never substitute chocolate for fruit. I’m the type that’ll keep ‘Terry’s Chocolate Orange’ in my fruit bowls and ‘Roses’ in my vases. I start to wonder what’s in his sandwich...I guess I could probably grab it and have a fumble through....although, probably not the best idea considering he’s currently eating it....plus I’d hate to get my fingers covered in chorizo and avocado or something. I Ip-dip-do my way to my sandwich. Oh stomach of mine, this ones for you!!! CRUNCH!!!!
I pause in shock. WHAT WAS THAT!? It was so loud!! TOO LOUD!! I take another chew...slooooooowly......CRUNCH!!!! WHOA NELLY!!! I see a few people turn and quickly glance at me. My face makes an expression of confusion....then it hits me.....THE LETTUCE!!.......no, THE CUCUMBER!!!! In all it’s freshness it’s releasing a loud shriek of pain with every bite!! ‘You can’t do that Mr. Cucumber!!’ I plead in my head, ‘You’ll upset the canteeners, ruin the zen they’ve created, mess up the feng shui!!’ I take another bite. CRUNCH!! It appears the cucumber doesn’t care about the the feng shui, but then again, how many cucumbers do these days. I look around. Nobody is looking my way but I know what they’re all thinking...’If that guy doesn’t shut up I’ll kick him where the sun don’t shine!!!’. I start to envision trousers with new technology that allows sun access to the crotch region. But I have no choice, If I don’t eat my stomach will kill me! After what seems like a lifetime of small nibbles my sandwich is consumed. I pick up my packet of Doritos and a ripple of crinkles explodes into the atmosphere. ‘OH GOD!’ I think, ‘How do I possibly get through a packet of crisps without causing an uproar!? I open the packet and take out a crisp. ‘Please Mr. Dorito, don’t make a ruckus’, I beg. ‘Don’t be like Mr. Cucumber, you care about the feng shui don’t you’. Mr. Dorito gives me a reassuring look that says ‘You can trust in me’ so I raise the crisp to my mouth..............CRUUUUNNNCCHHH!!!!! MR.DORITO YOU HAVE FORSAKEN ME!!! Mr. Dorito laughs maliciously all the way down my throat. I hear people sighing but I dare not look at them. I suspect they have pitchforks and threatening signs now, and I am no match for pitchforks and threatening signs!! I look over at Gary who is also eating his crisps....silently!! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!! Its like he has his crisps on mute!! The crisps go in and silence!! he dips his hand in the packet and SILENCE!! He’s got to be cheating somehow, like the guy moonwalking with skates in the ‘BAD’ video. He’s being as quiet as a mouse!! ...why do people assume mice are quiet!? and that they don't stir, they’re convinced by it, enough to put it in rhythmic Christmas carols.....clearly these people haven't seen ‘Ratatouille’. Its like he’s eating CANDY FLOSS while I’m creating bloody avalanches!!
I try another one in case the last was just a rebel, a crisp equivalent of an adolescent teenager going through hard times, just trying to express itself in ways adults just can not comprehend. CRUNCH!!! I guess not. The room practically shakes, I see people steady themselves by holding onto tables and grasping their cans of Fanta in case they vibrate off the surface. I notice a few more looks my way. The guy eating pasta looks down at his unused knife and then at me. OH GOD!! I think. THIS IS TERRIBLE!! This is worse than the depression you feel when you try a new anti-perspirant and still sweat buckets!! I look down at the remaining Doritos in the packet, they all stare back with malicious grins. I put the packet down sadly while Gary continues to soundlessly indulge on his crisps. I look at my chocolate bar. There are a few more sighs around the room. The pasta guy is now gripping his knife....... I turn to Gary and ask to swap his orange for my ‘Crunchie’.