14 August 2010

The Blue Lunch Box


In the past few weeks, I noticed that Mr. B. would pack his own lunch to work. He has this rectangular blue microwavable box that can squeeze in enough food for two people. He would pack pasta, rice, meats and other yummy things in there for lunch. Lately, he also discovered that he can actually pack raw vegetables with sauces and just let it cook in the microwave come lunchtime.

"You know what, Mr. B.? I think packing lunch is so anti-social!" I said to him as he was trying to crowd broccoli florets between the brown rice and curried minced pork.

"Why do you say that?" he asked.

"Because that means you don't lunch with the people you work with. You eat alone in your desk. There is a lack of social interaction."

"But packed lunch is healthier!" he defended. "So much better than the greasy food I eat outside. And besides, I work with the same people all day, why do I need to interact with them at lunch?"

"See? I sensed a problem there."

"And if people will judge me just because I bring my own lunch, well, that's their problem and not mine!" he replied.

After refrigerating his lunch box, he picked and sat me on his lap in the sofa. "Actually, there is another reason why I like packing my own lunch." he told me.

"Really? Why is that?"

"Because it serves as a reminder of who I am and where I came from." he replied.

"I don't understand."

"You see, when I was younger and just started working, I used to pack my own food in a brown lunch box. I save money bringing what was leftover from dinner the previous evening and having that for lunch. And because there were no microwave ovens then, I would eat the lunch cold," he said. "Those days were simple and easy, and I was happy."

"You are not happy now?" I asked.

"I am. But I don't want to spend money just because I can and forget simple things like packing my own lunch."

Mr. B.'s blue lunch box does not fit the corporate world where lunchtime is used for socializing, gossiping and complaining about other colleagues who are not present.

Now I understand that Mr. B. wanted to to use lunch breaks to retreat into his private world, not only wanted to nourish his body but also his soul, to be away from the triviality of the work place and return to the most basic of things.

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