to go: 1,050.52
looks like a 7-11
exploded inside the Dirt Company lunchroom.
standing in the
doorway, surveying this morning's Costco delivery, and frankly I'm
appalled. I haven't seen so many empty calories and non-recyclables
since my little brother's tree fort.
all this stuff?" drools The Main Nerdy Geoscience Guy. We stand
side by side in the doorway for one long moment, gaping in mingled
wonder (*him*) and horror (*me*) at this overwhelming abundance of
packaging and processing. He looks like a kid who has accidentally
wandered into the Happy Meal Factory. Mainly *I* am wondering where the
hell I'm going to put
everything. The beverages alone take up one entire corner of the
lunchroom: case after case of Coke and Diet Coke, stacked nearly to the
ceiling. Snapple and Diet Snapple, in a variety of colors and flavors.
Canned apple juice. Bottled cranberry juice. Instant cocoa. Instant
iced tea. Instant flavored coffee. And then there are the snack items:
Cup O'Soup. Cup O'Noodles. Handi-Snacks. Individually-wrapped pepperoni
sticks. Cheese and peanut butter crackers. Microwave popcorn.
Single-serving bags of Doritos, Fritos, Lays Potato Chips (BBQ and
Regular), Cheetos. A couple of five-pound bags of generic pretzels. And
lest anybody's sweet tooth go unrewarded, there are no fewer than five
varieties of snacky/desserty/granola bar things: chewy granola bars
studded with M&M's, chewy granola bars rolled in chocolate
and peanut butter, chewy granola bars with strawberry creme cheese
filling, chewy granola bars stuffed with chocolate chips and
miniature marshmallows. Plus a case of Grandma's Cookies (assorted
varieties), a ten gallon drum of red licorice and a jumbo bag of
caramel nips, just for fun.
don't know," I shrug.
"I guess JoAnne must have ordered it."
first glance all of
this convenience store excess might seem surprising. You'd think that
someone who has managed to drop forty pounds in the past six months --
the way JoAnne has -- might be a bit more circumspect about the snacks
she buys for the lunchroom. Clearly she's not buying them with
Faithful Assistant in mind. With the exception of the microwave popcorn
-- and some sort of weird dried-fruit snacky thing, maybe -- I don't
see anything here that a middle-aged woman with *Spandex issues* can
safely nosh on, late in the afternoon. But that's the point. JoAnne isn't
ordering this stuff for her Faithful Assistant ... nor, for that
matter, is she ordering it for herself. We both bring our own personal
materials from home. The freezer is filled with her Weight Watchers
entrees and her English Toffee Crunch bars; the lower lefthand produce
drawer is filled with my fruit and yogurt and Zip-Loc bagsful of dry
cereal. No, she's ordering this stuff MAINLY
for the rest of office, three-quarters of whom 1.) are under age 30,
2.) aren't married, and/or 3.) spend more of their waking hours here at
The Dirt Company than they do at home. They're like abandoned puppies:
if we don't feed them ... who will? Plus they're all rail-thin and full
of twitchy, nerdy energy. You burn off a lot of calories, hauling those
boxes of dirt back and forth to the lab all day.
Geoscience Guy digs happily through the box of Frito-Lay products,
looking for his favorite. "Score!"
he shouts in triumph, holding up a bag of KC Masterpiece BBQ Potato
The good news is that
there isn't anything here that actually appeals to me anyway. Potato
chips are great with a Large #9 Pastrami from Togo's, but by themselves
leave me cold. I burned out on popcorn years ago. (Microwave popcorn
be one of *my* personal Four Major Food Groups, along with cheap
chablis, Salem Slim Lights and Imodium A-D.) Pepperoni was
permanently ruined for me by a 1984 PBS documentary. And
I've never really been a granola bar kind of girl, chocolatey
coating or no chocolatey coating. Of course, if we were standing here
looking at a crate of Hershey Bars, it might be a different story. I
generally prefer my chocolate unfiltered, thankyouverymuch. But we're
not. We're talking about granola bars. And even if I were to be
suddenly overtaken by a wild uncontrollable Chocolate Jones -- like the
one prompted by last month's hormonal meltdown, which found me stuffing
Oreos into the waistband of my pants and sneaking them back to my desk
-- I suspect I would be able to resist the subpar forms of chocolate
I think I'm going
to be just fine with all of this.
I've put all of
the new *groceries* away -- it takes most of an hour, and I wind up
stashing half of it in the supply closet after I run out of room in the
kitchen -- I grab a bag of the weird dried-fruit snacky thing, plus a
bottle of plain old Calistoga, and I return to the front desk.
(Surprise! The dried-fruit snacky thing isn't half bad. It
I'm chewing little raspberry-flavored sponges ... but by god they're tasty
little raspberry-flavored sponges.) I congratulate myself on
sense, my willpower, my healthy eating habits, my vast reserves of
internal fortitude. I am
responsible for managing my own food intake,
I remind myself. The burden of
resisting temptation is mine: not the person buying snacks for the
lunchroom. As long as I keep
bringing my own good, healthy snack materials from home every day --
and as long as I avoid the lunchroom as much as humanly possible, for
however long it takes the Main Nerdy Geoscience Guy and his cohorts to
eat their way through the latest pile of junk food -- I'm going to be
just choked down
the very last of the little fruity sponges when JoAnne sidles up to the
front desk and thanks me for putting away the groceries. "I forgot
about these, though," she says offhandedly. "Can we keep them in your
she drops a ten
pound bag of Hershey's Miniatures into my bottom desk drawer.
throw a rock