Musing on food and cooking ...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hello. I am the Popcorn Bandit.

So I know it's dangerous to blog about work and all, but it is food related, and frankly, I just can't resist.

Part of starting any new job is adjusting to the new work culture. Never, ever, though, did I think that my late afternoon snack of choice could set up such a ferment of unhappiness.

I love popcorn. Truly, I do. Some nights, that's all I will eat for dinner. Popcorn. It's good for you. It's full of fiber. It fills you up without a huge amount of calories (well, as long as you aren't eating that movie theater crap or loading it with butter). It's a fond reminder of my Native American heritage. It seems to regulate my blood sugars. Everywhere I have ever worked, a late afternoon popcorn snack was almost expected. It was an excuse to share both snack and conversation with co-workers. It held you over in that long long 6-8 hour stretch between lunch and homecoming.

At my new workplace, however, popcorn is forbidden fruit.

The first time I made popcorn at my new job, I made it in the second floor office, which is my official home base although my office is currently on the 4 th Floor and the *** office is on the second floor. Since we have no kitchen facilities on the 4th Floor, making it in my home office seemed to make sense. And no one said I couldn't. And no one complained.

The next time I made popcorn on the 3rd Floor because I was too lazy to walk to the 2nd Floor. And no one said I couldn't and no one complained. So I made some again, and that's when I became the Popcorn Bandit.
"You know. You gotta be careful with that. The 1st Floor can't make popcorn. The !!! complained about the smell. So no popcorn in the building."
Really? Is this a joke?
"Well, just be careful. Especially none on the 1st or 2nd floors"
Well, ok then. So I made my fourth batch, again on the 3rd Floor. No problem. So then I made my fifth bag today, again on the 3rd floor. And all hell exploded.
I was careful. I popped in under 3 minutes, kept everything all wrapped up, and ran to my office and shut my door. I couldn't smell anything, but apparently someone from the 1st floor did – or they came up to the 3rd floor and smelled the after-scent of delicious popping and threw a fit. There was a call to the 3rd floor from the 1st floor in something of a panic, ramblings about the loss of microwaves, etc ad naseum. All of which resulted in a call to me.

"You can't do that. No more popcorn. We're going to lose all the microwaves."
"Well, if it's an issue, just have them blame me as the stupid newbie."
"It won't work. Just don't do it."
um, well, ok? Not really. I find this all very silly. I believe that I have – at one point early in my banditry – walked past the !!! with a bag of popcorn and was not called on it. There are no signs anywhere that popcorn is forbidden. I didn't get anything in my employee handbook. None of the office workers on the 2nd Floor , where the !!! is, seems to know anything about a popcorn embargo. And of all the possibly offensive smelling things in the universe, I find it very odd that only popcorn is banned. What about pizza? What about fish? What about curry? What about perfume and aftershave? What about all the paint and new carpet adhesive smells? I am certain that there are people out there who find those smells disgusting. Or maybe there are some deeper reasons why a popcorn embargo would be started. Maybe an early childhood popcorn assault?
And I don't even know if there really is a popcorn embargo, or if someone has just made it up.
Either way, I guess my days of banditry are over. I would feel terrible if everyone lost the microwaves because I needed an afternoon snack.

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