Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Running away with the spoon

Why is it that we can’t get hand soap in our office bathrooms for weeks on end, but our cleaning ladies are so vigilant they take things off my desk they THINK are garbage and I never see them again?

I shouldn’t complain. We have four very nice employee kitchens that are stocked with all kinds of disposable plates and cups and silverware—all free, all for our personal use. But the silverware is so flimsy it bends and breaks when you’re trying to use it for things as simple as stirring oatmeal or spreading peanut butter or performing emergency tracheotomies. Now, I’m a growing boy with a bottomless pit of a tummy, and I keep a huge filing cabinet in my office stocked with peanut butter and bread and water-packed tuna and oatmeal and protein shake mix. So I use a lot of plastic silverware for stirring and eating things and—in the case of the oatmeal—sculpting replicas of key Civil War battle scenes (you should see my Antietam in Maple and Brown Sugar).

So I need my cutlery to be sturdy. Or my quality of life plummets faster than Tom DeLay’s dignity.

Which means that whenever we cater in for office meetings or I go someplace fancy like Chipotle for lunch, I’m compelled save any unused plastic cutlery—which is always sturdier than the Flimsy McBreakables we keep in the office—and keep it on hand in my own private filing-cabinet kitchen.

But! God forbid I run out of time and don’t get the sturdy stuff washed and put away after I use it, because the cleaning ladies take a General Sherman approach to clearing the office of debris, perceived debris and anything that wouldn’t support the ideals of the Union.

Just last night I lost two sturdy forks I’d used to make tuna salad for lunch and to scrape the last of the peanut butter out of the jar for a peanut-butter-and-banana snack that day. The forks were sitting in a plastic cup in a faraway corner of my desk behind my computer—where you’d actually have to do some hunting to find them—until I could find a moment to get them washed. But after a long afternoon of meetings (whee! meetings!) I had to race out of here last night to meet a friend for a training run, so I didn’t get them washed.

And they were gone when I got in this morning. Just like that. No card, no ransom note … not even a fork you on a Post-It. The poor little forks were abducted and carted away, probably kicking their little tines and screaming at the tops of their little … um … fork lungs by Our Cleaning Lady of the Overzealous Trash Pickup.

And now I’m down to one reliable fork and a supporting cast of utensils more suitable for yoga demonstrations than for actual eating.

On the plus side, we finally have some freakin’ hand soap in the bathrooms again. So if I get all smeary digging in my peanut butter with our store-brand cutlery, I can at least wash my hands of the whole sordid mess. So to speak.

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