Good god, it sounded like the Earth just quaked right now. But that wasn’t a tremor caused by rocks beneath the Earth’s surface breaking along a fault; that was my stomach hollering at me to fill it up with some food. Apparently the half a box of chocolate cereal I devoured for breakfast this morning didn’t provide the sustenance I needed to get through the day. Shocking, I know! No worries though, my biological clock must be telling me it’s almost lunch time. Let’s just wrap up this quick task here and look at the clock…
*Computer clock reads 10:45am*
You have to be kidding me. Between the work I’ve already done today, the heinously boring meeting I had to sit through, and the hunger I’m now feeling, I would have thought it was at least 12:30 in the afternoon by now. But it’s not even eleven yet? I can’t eat my lunch now, it’s way too early for that. Maybe if I keep a clear focus on work I can distract myself from how hungry I am and have lunch at a more appropriate hour.
*15 minutes crawl by at a snail’s pace*
Yeah, this isn’t happening. The only thing I can focus on right now is how hungry I am, and my stomach is starting to growl so loud that people in the neighboring cubes are stopping by to express concern. This is only going to get worse, leaving me with no option but to dig into my lunch at 11:00am.
Normally I wait until at least noon to eat like most people, but often times I try to stick it out and wait even longer for lunch. I’ve found that this is an effective method for making the afternoon seem shorter because there aren’t many remaining hours left until the end of the day once you’ve finished enjoying your food. This is even more beneficial if you eat out for lunch because you avoid the long lines that form everywhere during the noon rush.
But not today. Today my stomach is in open revolt against me and if I don’t feed it right this instant at 11:00am there will be a full-blown mutiny inside my body. So I cave to it’s demands and treat it to a sad-sack lunch of a turkey sandwich on sliced wheat bread, a modest serving of mini pretzels, and a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt with a fun-sized bag of M & M’s mixed in because I am an 8-year-old. I mow down this weak attempt at a healthy lunch and am temporarily satiated. This is normally an enjoyable meal and welcome break in the day, but when it’s eaten way too early, it’s a pitiful brown bag effort. The rest of the day looms large now. With nothing to look forward to for the rest of the day, the remaining six hours are going to draaaaaaaaaag. I might as well be serving six life sentences in this goddamn cubicle.
Another problem with eating too early, like I have on this wretched day, it feels like my digestive system goes into overdrive and I have to keep eating to try and calm it down. As a result, I find myself pillaging the various candy bowls laying around the office in an act of desperation. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, peanut butter cups and chocolate nougat bars provide no nourishment whatsoever and in addition to still craving more candy, I now have a dull discomfort in my stomach.
When things get really dire and the end of the day is still an unreachable mirage, I find myself resorting to sneaking out to the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street to get something that will hopefully fill me up. I’m not proud of having to pay for a knock-off Egg McMuffin at 2:15pm, but it’s what I have to do to get my mind off the fact that I have to eat something before I go bananas (Yummm, wish I had some bananas to eat right now.) I’m pretty sure I would die immediately upon setting foot on the Oregon Trail. “Oh there’s no fast food joints along the way? That’s cool, hopefully I’ll immediately contract typhoid and be done with this.”
Long days at work are bad enough, but they’re infinitely worse when you eat lunch too early and have to start fantasizing about dinner before noon. There must be something psychological about the perception of time as it relates to when you eat lunch at work, because if you have it even a half hour early the day is guaranteed to feel like it lasts forever. I know that eating when you’re hungry is of the upmost importance for taking care of yourself, but I’d say the mental care of waiting to eat at or past the halfway point of your day is even more important for not spiraling yourself into a one-man Lord of the Flies situation in your cube.