I do not like this woman.
I’m not an antisocial hermit at work, mind you. I talk to and joke with everyone in my department. We go to the cafeteria in the morning together to get coffee, and often eat lunch together. I even speak to at least one of them outside of work. Plus, there are at least two people not in my department on my floor that I greet every morning. I met Maureen, who sits two aisles down, at a book signing once. And Lisa in psychiatric claims? She and I went to high school together. I'm practically a social butterfly, darn it!
This was not good enough for the social director. She organized a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, sending out a cheery email blast to all of us on the floor. The sign-up sheet was located at cubicle 314-J, which I’ll admit I couldn’t possibly locate on a floor plan. (This would require me to know the number associated with my own cubicle, which up until this point I thought was universally recognized as “behind Elaine, across from Jim.”)
Our department likes to expend its creative talents on the work we do every day at our job—in other words, none of us wanted to cook or bake. We all agreed to chip in some money and buy our potluck contribution. Sue found the signup sheet and put us down for “large dessert platter.” A day later, she went back to the list (now that she could navigate the J row of our floor, she was feeling like a world explorer, and wanted to show off a bit) and discovered that there were people breaking the inherent rules of potluck: namely, the first person to write down the dish gets to bring that dish. But lo and behold, right after Sue’s dessert platter entry, someone had written “cookies.” And after that, someone else had scrawled “apple pie.” That wasn’t fair! We’d called dessert first! That’s right: there’s nothing like an office luncheon to make the kindergartener in all of us break free.
I hate potluck.
The day of the luncheon, Sue and I ran out and picked up an apple pie, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, cheesecake sampler, baklava tray, and whipped cream—we'd called dessert first, and we were going to deliver desserts, by golly. We proudly brought our goodies back and helped the social director set up the food. When all was said and done, we had a turkey, mashed potatoes, and (in addition to our desserts) a sweet potato pie; cookies of the chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, chocolate crackle, Italian, and walnut white-chocolate chip varieties; a pineapple upside-down cake; peanut butter bars; brownies; blondies; cream puffs; six more apple pies; and a platter of fudge.
Now, the whole point of this stupid exercise was to meet our neighbors, yet ten people immediately begged off due to being diabetic. But the rest of us were supposed to grab a plate and mingle. My department gamely stacked our plates with turkey and sweets and stood around awkwardly. I looked for Lisa. Her department had grabbed two of the apple pies and retreated back to their cubicles. Maureen had called out sick. The other departments were in the process of filling their plates and making a run for it. The social director, God bless her, was smiling widely with blueberry-pie-stained teeth. For four minutes, while we'd all scrambled to get a slice of the one apple pie that had real apples in the filling and not that canned crap, we’d come together as a cohesive group. She was happy.
At least someone was.
Did you stop by The Storyside this week?
Fabulous Free Fiction: "The Penitent" by Rob Smales
Entertainment (no, really): "This is the Way the World Ends" by Vlad V.