(That Thing I Do)

5 Reasons Why Solo Workday Lunches Work

Lunching alone – it works!

Most people don’t like eating alone. And under most circumstances, I too prefer to eat with company. But at the office? That’s a whole other ball game to me. This is why I prefer eating alone during workday lunches:

1. The workaholic invasion

Yes, we know you have a deep passion for working hard in a job that requires you to be about as fun and energetic as a piece of a chalk, and you take pleasure in mechanically completing a dozen three-hundred page documents (especially so after hours and over weekends), but please, spare us the shop-talk during lunch. Lunch hour is technically working hours but I wish you wouldn’t steal away at the little bit of my soul that I have during the day. Your enthusiasm in work-related topics far surpasses “responsible” and “energetic”; nay, it spills into workaholism – which is all fine and dandy if everyone at the table is guilty of the same crime. Imposing your workaholism on me can be likened to getting smash-drunk while at church – you’re entitled to your indulgence, but please keep it where it belongs.

2. Real-life tweet feed

Without anyone at my table talking, I get to listen in on other conversations. Sometimes I hear something hilarious. Sometimes I hear something intriguing. Sometimes I hear something intelligent. Sometimes I hear something inspiring. It’s never from the same people, and always a refreshing. Different voices, different personalities. It’s almost as good as mixing with different groups. You get a little of everything. Except, I get to bury my face with food instead of having to nod in acknowledgement or feel compelled to interject. It’s actually very much like reading tweets, which I otherwise would miss if people at my table were occupying my “hearing space”.

3. Me-time

I get to spend time with my own personal thoughts, without having to feel the stress of work. Sure, the stress will be there when I return to the quasi-prison that is my cubicle, but as long as it’s lunch hour, I appreciate spending my parole in solitude. I also don’t have to wait politely though impatiently for colleagues to finish up their food, and sometimes, their usually uninteresting conversations. Let’s not linger around outside in this hot weather. Besides, I gotta pee.

4. What to eat, what to eat?

The bane of all meal time pleasures – inability to decide or agree on what to eat. First we’ll commune in the middle of a corridor or walkway and stand around in a random fashion. Then someone will toss out a predictable, “So, where you guys wanna eat?”. Well, I didn’t see that one coming!

We could stand around bouncing the question with shrugs and grunts, and hope it all just goes away; which really just means we’ll keep standing around, which then leads to everyone getting hungrier and nowhere closer to any form of agreement. When I’m hungry, I get pissy, so that’s not good for anyone.

Or someone would suggest a place where the food is overpriced and tastes like sawdust. Lazy and agreeable bastards as most people are, they’ll just agree and I’ll be suckered into ingestible inedible clumps of flour with scraps of stale processed carcass-scraps soaked in motor oil. That’s when my day just goes downhill and I find myself satisfying a Nips craving by mid-afternoon.

5. Evading the routine

I take no pleasure in getting stuck in a routine. Colleagues automatically assume you’re having lunch with them. It gets sticky to tell them you’d rather eat somewhere else, or you don’t feel like eating what they feel like eating. I hate being expected to consult or report to everyone before I just go for lunch at my own time. I rather not let my only time to step out of the office be tethered to the expectations of others.

Sure, let’s do lunch – if it fits my mood. Let’s not make it default – that just turns lunch into another form of work.