Pantry Talk

I do not recommend sad office lunches. When I started working in Malaysia, I was guilty of this. Very guilty. I brought food from home. I heated them up in our office microwave. And then I ate them. In front of my computer. Alone.

You could probably say I was a loner of sorts. Plus, we didn't have a decent pantry back then, not one with tables and chairs to dine in. So, sad office lunches were always the way to go.

Until I made office friends. Hurray for office friends! Happy is the person who finds fun lunchmates who converse about anything from deep political things to disgusting and often useless information. Happier is the person who finds confidantes among that clique, people with whom one can share deep, personal stuff without fear of anything getting out.

We were talking about seasons the other day. Imagine the lunch table: two women from Botswana, one from Lesotho, one Malaysian Chinese, and one Filipina.

"I hate, hate, hate winter! Winter is the absolute worst!"

"You would not want to go to Africa in the winter!"

I have always been fascinated by the cold, but from the women's descriptions of the season which came to Africa by June, I became increasingly thankful of South East Asia's warm, tropical weather.

"But summer is even worse! You can feel the heat in your head!" The girls grew more animated with each new complaint. I laughed and listened. Sometimes I simply liked to sit back and observe how pantry conversations would unfold. I would jump in from time to time. But it was fun just learning from the lives of my officemates, fun just watching them interact with one another.

* * *

"Someone stole my windshield wiper the other day." 

The times I jumped into conversations were mostly times I got to talk with somebody one on one. Words came easier with kindred spirits, with a closer knit circle of friends. I'm glad for those kindred spirits. They are the ones you could steal a few minutes away from the office with to buy a Chatime milk tea or a Starbucks latte, the ones who'd stand beside you as you oggle at a window of Ben and Jerry's selections until eternity is through. The truth is, the office can be a lonely place to be without those people.

So the next time you go out for lunch, find a kindred spirit. Or jump straight into a crazy pantry conversation. You'll appreciate those so much more than a sad office lunch.

Take it from me, a former S-O-L lady.

Best eaten with  friends.