Girl at Lunch, Interrupted

For those of us who are stuck in a cubicle (or even an office) from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, our lunch breaks are almost sacred. We want to eat, unwind and unplug for the allotted sixty minutes without interruption. But alas, interruption can find us anywhere. This post is dedicated to the people who create situations that prevent me (and maybe you) from being able to eat in peace. I give you…

The Interrupters:

1) Smelly Lunch Guy – In my last post about work besties, I introduced “Fargaret”. She and another coworker-friend “Byron” are the two people I normally eat lunch with every day. We go to the breakroom, eat for the first half of our break, then play a card game during the second half. Part of the reason why we try to finish our lunch early is because we know that thirty minutes into our lunch period, our coworker “Bob” is going to enter and prepare his standard lunch; Sardines, corn, zucchini noodles, peppers, hot sauce and an array of other ingredients will be mixed in a bowl…and microwaved. Have you ever smelled sardines in a microwave? If the answer is yes, I’m willing to bet you’ve worked with Bob at some point in your life because I believe he’s the only person inconsiderate enough to microwave sardines at work. With hot sauce no less!

How to deal: Try to schedule your lunch break so you can at least get your food down before he/she enters the room. This is also a great excuse to eat out more.

2) The Spoiler – When you eat lunch in a small room crowded with other people, you’re bound to overhear a conversation or two. For some reason, the conversations that I always seem to pick up on are when my coworker “Rosie” is loudly discussing a movie or TV show that I haven’t seen yet. One time I tried to stop her from spoiling a movie I wanted to see and she replied with: “Oh don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it for you. I was just talking about the scene where [insert spoiler here]”. So recently, when I heard her talking about Wonder Woman, I reverted back to my kindergarten self by putting both hands over my ears and shouting “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!” Then I avoided the lunchroom until I saw the movie. I also had to binge watch the newest season of Orange is the New Black because if she had ruined any surprise for me, I would have had a hard time resisting the urge to toss a hot sauce-laced sardine her way.

How to deal: If you can’t beat her to the movies, steer the conversation to a movie or TV show you have already seen.
(Example – Her: “Boy, I loved Wonder Woman. Especially the part where…”
You: “Hey! Remember the episode when Ricky wouldn’t let Lucy be in the show? Hahahaha!”)

3) The One Who Can’t Let Go – I recognize that every once in a while it may be necessary to work through lunch, but for the most part, I consider lunch to be a work-free zone. So I don’t love it when someone comes into the lunchroom to hunt me (or Fargaret or Byron) down to ask a work-related question. Or worse, when someone doesn’t even have a question, they just want to complain. “I can’t believe my boss is asking me to do this…Why do I always have to…” Stop it! MY lunch hour is not YOUR therapy hour!

How to deal: If you can’t physically escape, become an interrupter yourself. Try steering the conversation toward more pleasant things and don’t let him finish his sentences. He will either get frustrated and leave or follow the new thread of conversation that you’ve introduced.

4) The Jokester – Yes, it’s the return of The Jokester, “Benjamin”. You may remember him from my first post We All Have That One Coworker… It turns out Benjamin is not just full of dad jokes, he’s full of baloney as well. Benjamin doesn’t normally spend his whole break in the lunchroom; he just breezes in, approaches the first person to make eye contact, engages them in conversation and then breezes out. One day his loud, exuberant storytelling caught my ear because it was giving me a case of déjà vu. The next day, when it happened again with a different story, a light bulb went on. He was taking the plot of certain 80’s movies and telling them as if they were his own personal experiences! Once I realized that, I could barely contain my laughter. His stories don’t annoy me as much anymore because I’m excited to see what channel he’ll turn to next. So far I’ve recognized bits and pieces of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Encino Man, and even Top Gun. The man is talented.

How to deal: Just like with the dad jokes, the best way to combat the Jokester is to beat him at his own game. (Example – “I remember this one time when I got detention on Saturday and I was stuck in the library with a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.”)

This list could go on for days but it’s almost lunchtime so I’ll end it here at the top four. What kind of Interrupters keep you from enjoying YOUR lunch? Drop a comment below!

Author: R. Alexandria

Since graduating college, I have had the honor/horror of working in publishing, which means that I am surrounded by creative and passionate individuals. The most valuable lesson I have learned is that “creative” is only a stone’s throw away from “crazy”. I’ve just about seen it all from my various cubicles over the years…from physical altercations to mental meltdowns. I created this blog to share with you some of the most hilarious, insane, frustrating, annoying, helpful, inspiring, and disgusting moments I have experienced in the workplace. I’ll also provide some tips should you ever find yourself in similar situations. These anecdotes reference situations from past and present (uh oh!) office positions. Names have been changed to protect the crazy innocent. Enjoy!

43 thoughts on “Girl at Lunch, Interrupted”

  1. Lol so true, but I feel like in my office, since it’s all busy everyone is just eating in front of their desks. There’s sometimes that one jokester who makes everyone laugh though.

  2. This is funny and I understand what you are saying even though I only worked for others for a short while. I had my own business where I had to move around in the office a lot. Still, there are challenges. People are crazy in general, no matter where or how you work.

  3. Haha, love this. Reminds me why I didn’t eat lunch in the breakroom when I could help it. I’m such an introvert that I’ve always preferred to eat my lunches ALONE. So I’d often escape to my car and eat in there.
    My other favorite interrupter, which can be found anywhere is the ME ME ME person. Where no matter what you try and talk about, they just have to interrupt to bring the conversation back to themselves. I once had a friend’s girlfriend get pissy during dinner because we (me, my bf and her bf) started talking about Action Movies (which I happen to be a huge fan of) and she interrupted our conversation with “ANYWAYS, blah blah chick flick that I love, and I love the person it’s based on and I love the acting in this movie”.

  4. My office is small, me plus three other people and yet all four of these people exist in my office. Made me laugh out loud thinking about the smelly lunches and horrible dad jokes my boss tells. There are no lunch breaks where I work, it’s eat at your desk while you continue to work. I envy your card game and breakroom.

  5. You’re freaking hilarious hahaha. And so true! I wish I could write something like this! Haha. And btw, so many people at my work microwave sardines and other foul smelling food all the time. I can’t even use the microwave anymore without being disgusted. –

  6. Haha, this is a fun post. I’m currently a stay at home mom, so I just have the toddler issues. You know, food on the floor, in the hair, lol!

  7. I was kept entertained the whole time I was reading this post, I have a fare share of my interuptors too during my holy lunch time hour too! Thing is, I have to deal with them every now and then. I know it sucks! lol

  8. Very funny and I can do picture those characters. Do you have a “close talker” because she whispers everything and needs to be 2 inches from your face? I do. So annoying!

  9. I agree eating at the lunch room can become very bothersome at times. It’s like every one will stare directly at your food than ask what you’re having for lunch. Being middle-eastern… sometimes it’s super hard to explain what I am eating. So I usually stick with eating at my desk. But thanks for confirming I am not the only person getting annoyed with lunch related inquires. lol.

  10. The jokester is cracking me up!! Too funny! Unfortunately we don’t have anyone quite that creative at my office!
    And the sardine guy?? Gross!!

  11. Oh boy can I relate to this! When I was in an office, my lunch hour was decompress time as I worked extremely hard at my job. There always was someone who wanted to talk shop or complain. Good ways to deal.

  12. OMG YES – I think I have encountered every single one. #3 is the WORST! Every minute you spend talking to me about lunch will be added to the end of my lunch break, since I technically wasn’t on “break” when you hunted me down to ask how to use the copier! Great blog – I got annoyed just reading it (and I’m reading it during lunch lol)!

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