By day I work in an ordinary building filled with ordinary people. I would guess about 300 ordinary people work on my floor. We all share a bathroom and a kitchenette. As you can imagine, the bathroom can get pretty disgusting and most days I would rather pee at the Texaco down the street than here. I’ve learned to dehydrate on burrito day in the cafeteria just to avoid the deathly hollows of the restroom. However, as disgusting as the bathroom can be, surprisingly the kitchenette is twice as nasty.
The kitchenette is equipped with a shared refrigerator which smells like a junior high locker room. The freezer section like an arctic cave cushioned with crystals of freezer burn leaving only the smallest space in which a stick of butter might fit. Miraculously, the mammoths that feed within seem to cram an endless supply of frozen dinners in it. The kitchenette also has four microwaves which are nicely plastered from floor to ceiling with De Kooning like spatterings of every color ranging from goulash orange to split pea green. Sixteen single serve coffee pots line the walls so no one has to dish out the dollar it would cost to buy a cup in the building’s cafeteria and four toasters fill in the few empty counter slots. It’s a small appliance hoarders dream.
Occasionally someone brings food in to share with the group. The general protocol is that any food left on the counter is fair game to public and the variety of items left is astonishing. Of course there is the standard fair like extra Halloween candy, Christmas cookies and left over communion cake but, there are also more often than not stranger options like eggplant parmesan, a giant bowl of yogurt and meat pies. Last week I happened upon the most disturbing offering yet, cake.
This was no left over birthday cake or someone’s weekend party remnants this was two distinct chunks of cake, one marble and one chocolate that seemed to have been ripped from some larger mass of cake and left behind by an ogre who had had his fill. The hunks were all middle with no sign of the crusty baking pan edge and in a shape that could only be called ameba like. The cake was visible dry and without even a hint of frosting not even a dusting of powdered sugar. It was covered in plastic wrap that had used at seventeen time before and sat on a torn off piece of cardboard box. Next to the cake sat a note written in scraggily serial killer handwriting that read: “HELP URSELF”. The most disturbing part about this cake is that it was gone in less than 30 minutes and not thrown away mind you, eaten with only a handful of crumbs left behind on the tattered box top with the plastic wrap simply pushed aside. Disgusting. I would rather eat a hamburger scrap out of a garbage can on the streets of Boston than eat that random piece of left over baked good cast aside by someone who can’t even spell “yourself”.
People will eat anything from anywhere it seems. Who knows who is leaving this food behind? It could be that guy who clips his fingernails in the cube behind me and if he’s clipping his fingernails at work he certainly clipping them in his own kitchen! Or maybe it’s that woman who never washes her hands after using the bathroom. Or even worse maybe it’s the woman who pees on the seat or refuses to flush the toilet or the woman who must eat wild goat for dinner every night and poops it out every morning at work rendering the bathroom unusable for hours. Or maybe it was the creepy guy who silently sulks around the office just staring into people’s cubicles without saying a word. Are you really that hungry that you would risk eating someone’s toenails or boogers or worse? For the love of Pete, stop eating anyone and everyone’s culinary remnants. Bring your own snacks!