Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mixed Plate: Open Letter from an Angry Office Refrigerator

I have a friend who sends me photos from her phone. No, not those kinds of photos, you perv-o. She sometimes sends me photos from her office, a regular ol' desk jockey cubicle-world like everyone else's, but it's specifically of the break room. For all the same-ness of most places of work-slash-drudgery, the break room is a microcosm of personalities that all get to have their little moment of personal recess for the state-mandated 30 minute lunch period and two 15 minute breaks per day. And speaking of microcosm, there is no place more microcosmic-intergalactic-planetary-intergalactic than... The Office Refrigerator.

Fridge from Maytag, but cheesy Dateline-esque title graphic by Yours Truly. Where's Chris Hansen??
Is there no landscape more daunting and aggravating than the communal office fridge? And why shouldn't it be subject to food bloggery, because we've all experienced it at one point in our lives. I do have a real jobbie-job, but I very thankfully and luckily worky-work from home these days, but my Anonymous Office Friend helps me Keep it Real, sending me texts and photos to remind me of the stupid s&*t that grown-ass men and women-folk do in offices. I endured that modern frustration for many years, many offices and yes, I feel your pain. Every day is like a small-scale War of the Roses with passive-aggressive or early-stage sociopathic behavior, all in the safe confines of an office fridge.

It got me thinking, if walls could talk, or more specifically, large kitchen appliances, what would a disgruntled office refrigerator say? So based on my Anonymous Office Friend's story sharing and some of my own personal experience with insane workplace situations, I thought I'd write up an Open Letter from an Angry Office Refrigerator:

Dear Workers:

I've had just about enough of you mouthbreather cubicle-drones. There, I've said it. I'm officially done with you, taking me for granted while keeping your Beer Friday brewskis cold and keeping the ice cream cake nicely chilled to suck up to the VP on their birthday. Done, I tell you!! It's bad enough that I have to endure the cacophony of pungent odors emanating from a million different cuisines every day, piled upon my shelves with abandon. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Yellow-Curry-Extra-Garlic-Three-Star-Guy. Or Broccoli-With-Salmon-and-Sardines-Guy -- I talk to the Microwave regularly, and he's ready to commit suicide with some tin foil and a metal fork after you cook those foul ingredients together. How do your insides even function after such foul, flatulent fare? The stank is rank, yo -- and imagine how the odors linger when you shove the leftovers back onto my shelves to further perfume everything around me. I admit, I take some evil pleasure in knowing the aroma of fish will permeate Lazy-Vegan-Girl's tofu salad that she always brings, but sneaks off after lunch to scarf down a cheeseburger. Yeah, you think I don't notice that -- I've got dirt on all of you!

And that's another thing -- throw your nasty, rotten, ancient food out! They needed a CSI crew to scrape out the moldy penicilin farm that had multiplied and grown out of that poor Tupperware container from last November. It had fused itself to the back corner of my lower shelf and was threatening to take hostage whatever fresh fruit was within grappling distance. I'm fairly certain there's a sleeper cel of mold spores just waiting to attack at any moment. Don't blame me when the mutant strain of the Black Plague erupts in the break room.

Oh, and by the way -- you're absolute slobs, every last one of you! Do you treat your home kitchen refrigerators like this? Pools of spilled diet soda, left to gelatinize and eventually harden into an amber-like substance, trapping small foodstuffs and crumbs like some Precambrian strata. A long, Hello Kitty-pink smear of frosting going the entire length of my left side, because math genius HR Girl didn't measure the size of that hideous rose-topped birthday cake before shoving it onto a shelf. I think there was sprinkles on that cake. Either that or the frosting smear is starting to ferment and I'll have a colony of sugar mushrooms growing inside of me. It wouldn't kill anyone to give my interiors a good scrub-down. We're not even going to talk about the collection of relish jars from company BBQs of yore, stacking up on my door shelves, or the handfuls of ketchup and mustard packets you fools think need to be chilled, but never bother to use. We're not saving hot dog toppings for a nuclear winter, people.

Along with a lack of appreciation for cleanliness, you're lazy and/or dumb. Do you even know what a refrigerator is used for? Or when there's something you don't know what to do with, you just shove it into the fridge to make it go away? You left an ice cream bar on my shelf. All day. I don't know what's more stupefying, the storing of frozen desserts in a non-frozen environment, or the fact the freaky bar of ice cream didn't melt, it just stayed as a perfect brick of sugary softened goo. It's poetic justice that you eventually snarfed down that preservative-laced monstrosity. And after the last company picnic, everything got shoved onto my shelves in a mad rush before the weekend started. It was like a pipe bomb went off on these shelves. I'd like to find the weirdo who insisted on refrigerating an aluminum tray full of Cheetos. If I had hands, I'd slap you. Twice.

Don't think I'm leaving out The Freaks. The food kleptos, aka Lunchburglars, aka Douchebag Tightwad Who's Too Cheap to Buy Food. It's not just one person, there's several food bandits lurking around this rogue's gallery of an office. There's the Cheap-But-Picky Guy, who only steals food he thinks is good; if it's some soggy half-hamburger from the greasy burger shack up the street, forget it, but if you were at the client lunch and brought back some of that leftover filet mignon to save for a delicious dinner, consider that company-expensed extra meal already gone. There's a few people who are wise to the lunch pilfering, leaving death threat post-it's on their takeaway containers, promising a slow, painful demise if the contents are disturbed. Nice try, but really -- you're just putting a big red target on your food saying: Steal Me, Please. Passive-Aggressive-Eating-Disorder-Girl will just hit those containers out of spite, insisting no one can tell her what to do. She'll binge on her ill-gotten goods, have a good cry about why her boyfriend left her, and then discreetly visit the women's restroom to give up all that stolen food to Mr. Toiletbowl. Sure, the bathrooms know all the best gossip, but I witness my own share of your sins. I know about the bottles of vodka stashed below the extra bag of ice in the freezer, High-Functioning-Alcoholic-Executive. You clearly earned your corporate stripes, being smart enough to stash your booze in the place you know no one would look, but maybe spring for the better quality stuff -- the workers are starting to get wise to your liquid lunch habit, you don't want to them to think you're cheap, too.

So I've laid out my kitchen appliance soul to you, you heartless corporate drones. I see it all, as you meander in and out of the break room, complaining about your job/family/life and then take it out on me with a hearty fridge door slam. Those hinges won't last forever, you know. I'm at my wit's end, or more likely, feeling a major short circuit coming on. And I'm going to make sure it's a day after the warranty, with just enough time to curdle the communal milk for the coffee. I'm ready to move on to the next life, a better one, maybe I'll be reincarnated as a nice lava lamp. They seem to have it pretty mellow and laid-back.

love, kisses and a big "up yours,"
The Office Refrigerator

P.S. - Please take down the creepy porn-mustache man poster. For the love of God.

Does your office break room look like this? - Photos by Anonymous Office Friend

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