It's Just Lunch

I'm not on the market, nor have I been in over a decade, thankfully - but if I were, one of my myriad options would be a company called, It's Just Lunch - that takes the scary out of dating by pairing you with a compatible match on a short date - i.e., lunch.

I mention this because my new boss, D, came to me yesterday to see if we could have lunch today, and of course I agreed.

And then immediately started obsessing about a way to explain to her that I'm not really a nut, I just have some anxiety issues that make me a little crazy when under duress.

As if we needed proof, I left my laptop in the Butler's Pantry this morning and had to race back to the house to get it before my 9AM training class.  Which, due to computer problems, my trainee couldn't join until 9:30.  And to top that off, D got pulled into deal with some product glitches, and we rescheduled lunch for Tuesday.  But, since I'm already feeling nuts, I took a minute to apologize for being so scattered on our transition into her department, and she assured me it's not a problem.

So as it turns out, she probably just wants to have lunch to get to know me away from the chaos.

But lunch makes me anxious.  Is it any wonder?

I think back to other work lunches past.

Spring 1998 - Lunch with Donna.  My first job out of college - Donna invites me to lunch - she's one of three managers in Marketing, and she makes me nervous.  Assuming she wants to talk business, I take my legal pad and pen.  It turns out, she just wanted to go to lunch.  Leave it to me and my self-esteem to not believe that I'm worthy lunch company.

February 1999 - Lunch with Dave.  Second job out of college.  I've been brought on part-time to do research, and Dave, my quasi-boss is taking me to lunch.  During lunch, I spill my guts about getting dumped by my ex, and how some day, he'll regret it.  As we're returning from lunch, I realize I've been about as unprofessional as I could be, and that he probably has no interest in bringing me on full-time.

Spring 1999 - Lunch with Dave, Part 2. Against all odds, Dave decides to bring me on full-time and he's offering me the job over lunch.  Of course, we're a dot com start-up, and so our dress code is lenient.  I am wearing jeans because I had no idea I'd be getting a job offer that day.  I accept.  Lunch was at a Cajun place.

Summer 1999 - Lunch en Masse. I've been invited to lunch with Dave, Kathy (who got me the part-time gig there to start with), and their boss, Joe.  We get Thai, and as I'm not familiar with this restaurant, I order it spicy.  I end up with my nose running and tears streaming down my face.  This is the last time I order Thai spicy.  Joe, Kathy and Dave all laugh at me.

November 2001 - Lunch with Paula and Diana.  First day at the new job, Paula (my boss) and Diana (my co-worker) take me to lunch at Maui Taco.  Diana complains that the meat in her $2 taco is skimpy. I make mental notes to avoid lunching with Diana, and to never return to Maui Taco, because she was pretty rude and I prefer my tacos without spit in them.

Spring 2003 - Lunch is on him, not you.  I am leaving the company, and they're taking me to lunch.  Diana has a 2 for 1 coupon she's going to use on me, but a sales guy steps in and buys my lunch.  This is my final farewell to Diana. So long, complaining cheapskate.

October 2006 - Lunch with the Coven.  My entire department (all women) have decided to dress as witches for Halloween.  We go to lunch as a team, dressed as witches.  Cheeseburgers and cauldrons.  This will be one of the better days I have with this company.

Late 2006/Early 2007 - What Would Jesus Order?  The company's owner takes my team to lunch.  Service is slow, and we're all out of shit to talk about when the owner suggests we talk about Religion.  Since I know that means she's going to talk and we're going to listen, I say, "Gee, Owner, that's a pretty heavy topic for lunch."  She replies that, "Since it will make Allison uncomfortable" we don't have to talk about it.  Within a few months, I'll be gone from that company and realize that I've left a very dysfunctional place.

May 2007 - Under Wraps.  My new and improved job.  First day, since we're understaffed, we have to stay in.  We order from the deli downstairs, and circle our chairs to listen for the phones while we eat.  As we're riding down to get lunch, my new boss gives me the 411 on the deli and urges me to try the club wraps.  I end up getting a BLT with some avocado, but for the remaining time in that building, I'll eat clubs aplenty.

Fall 2010 - Really, you shouldn't have. A colleague who I cannot stand asks me to lunch.  I have tried to avoid this for several months, but he corners me.  I have to agree to it, and it's essentially as painful as expected.  He asks why I don't like him, and I explain that I get the feeling he doesn't want to be a member of the team and I find that problematic.   I later find out that our boss put him up to meeting with me to solve our differences.  Had I known this, I'd have really laid into him.  He is fired roughly a month later.

Later Fall 2010 - What's your angle?  A colleague who I very much like asks me to lunch.   Paranoid from my previous experience, I try to suss out his motives, and see if he has been put up to this by our boss.  Once again, I find it hard to believe when I learn he just wants to go out to eat and bitch about other people with me.  Apparently, he wants to have lunch because...he enjoys my company?  Is that possible?

In the 12 years since that first misunderstood lunch with Donna, I realize that I have not really gained much wisdom.

But I've eaten a lot of lunch.