I started on American Gods today at lunch, after a quick trip to Barnes and Noble. Even the mass market paperback edition is a daunting slab of book: more than three hundred pages to tear and fold and eat. I began with a modest potato salad, garnished with curled paper ribbons and served in a series of folded waterlily bowls. As I chewed, I wondered whether my choice of lunch was blasphemous, or merely unpatriotic.
American Gods was much more appetizing than the basement-stored volumes I've been used to. It tasted clean, and maybe a little bleachy. For some reason, that taste filled me with a powerful nostalgia. I rolled a potatoey morsel around on my tongue, trying to pinpoint the source of the feeling, but it fluttered just out of reach. Something to do with school, maybe, or Christmas morning. Wrapping paper? Could that be it? It doesn't quite feel right. Now, it's going to bother me all day.
Mike came into my office just as I was getting back to work. Apparently, he had been serious about the free food idea, and apparently, the execution of said idea fell within my sphere of responsibility.
"You should go to Krispy Kreme," he suggested.
"Get a selection. Jellies, glazed, holes, everything. You can put the receipt in my box."
I left, feeling a little put-upon. Clearly, it has to be management that picks up the treats (otherwise, how would the drones know which hand had fed them?), but why me? I liked sneaking the chocolate bars in anonymously, but this kind of ostentatious generosity isn't me. It's embarrassing. Worse: it's transparent. It's like giving everyone a pat on the head and telling them "Nice work, kids. Now, wax Daddy's car." It's condescending.
Or maybe free food is just free food. I must admit, it did feel good, watching everyone's eyes light up at the sight of the spotted boxes. A miniature party broke out, complete with clinking soda cans. When it dispersed, the mood was perceptibly brighter. The rest of the day seemed to pass by more quickly than usual.
At home, I dined on leftover Neverwhere soup. I think I might have used too much garlic. The flavour had really blossomed overnight. It took three Listerine rinses to freshen my breath. I kept noticing a private miasma of nastiness floating around my head. I don't think I'll be taking the last of the soup to work tomorrow. While I don't object to the presence of STINKY FOODS in the fridge, I would never impose my STINKY SELF upon my colleagues.