Monday, April 16, 2007

Hickory, Dickory, Dock

My problem with a lunch hour is this: when, exactly, does the lunch hour start?

This is not a conversation I can have with my husband, who believes that taking more than a half hour to eat lunch is equal to slacking. This is because my husband actually eats lunch at lunchtime, and does not engage in any other non-food related activity. I know this because when he needs something done during the day, he calls me. In my role as a working housewife, I am the office manager for household business needs. I'd complain, but really: the five minutes it takes to book yet another estimate from yet another plumber/contractor/gardener/cable guy buys me plenty of reason to levy my real complaint.

I need more than an hour for lunch.

If lunch is supposed to start the minute you leave your desk, that's a problem. I would then have to put on football gear and pummel my way through anyone who dares to get in my way with pleasant, afternoon greetings. "Off to lunch?" would be met with "I'm on the clock! No time, no time! Send me an email!" as I left an Annapolady sized hole in the door. No, it wouldn't work.

Starting the minute I get into my car doesn't work either. I need time to decide if I'm going to listen to the news, radio music, CDs, or ride in silence. I also need a moment to look around the parking lot to see who might have seen me get into my car (since this is really when I'd like to begin to calculate - the hour starting the minute someone else is aware I'm going to lunch).

I try to start the hour when I'm driving, but traffic is so unpredictable. What works for me is to start the hour as I walk through the door of my destination, which, at least once a week, is TJMaxx. If I start my hour once I arrive, I have a half hour to decide whether or not I want to buy yet another pair of slightly irregular Anne Klein II socks or not, fifteen minutes to find and purchase food, and fifteen minutes to drive back to the office. The food, of course, is consumed at my desk. I like to call that part of the afternoon 'working through lunch'.

As you can see, it's complicated. What I really need is a half hour to eat, an hour to travel, and an hour (or two) to shop. In other words, I need to move to Spain, where they break for an afternoon siesta every day for three or so hours, and then return to work.

I told my husband I wanted to move to Spain. For the Siesta.

Him: They have to go back to work after.
Me: So?
Him: So, don't you care about how late you get home from work?
Me: What's on TV that night?

He knew what I meant.

I do legitimately work through lunch several days a week. I don't view this as dedication, I view this as making up for the 1.5 and 2 hour lunches I've stolen at other times. I strongly believe it all comes out in the wash.

Or drycleaning. For which I need another fifteen minutes, thanks.

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