Sunday, September 11, 2005

Happiness appears in the guise of a peanut bar

As I walked down the corridor towards our office kitchen this afternoon, I was surprised to hear a child's voice. Although there is often childish behavior in this workplace and some of us are rather short, as far as I know none of my fellow employees are actual children.

I've been working the same Sunday shift for about 5 years, and one of the perks is that the office is generally deserted. Normally, if I anticipate an encounter with someone I don't know I will retreat, unseen.

But I needed to heat up my tea, and generally I can deal with kids.

So I proceeded into the kitchen only to be confronted with the snack machine guy refilling the vending machine, with a child I assumed to be his daughter sitting in a chair at the nearby table.

Thus the dilemma: I don't particularly like vendors, but I do like snacks. Plus, it's a small kitchen and there was no easy escape route.

Therefore I was forced to engage in the activity commonly known as small talk. An activity that generally I suck at.

During said small talk, he asked me what snacks I liked. Well, it just so happens that I have an unnatural love of the peanut bar. Probably because I can delude myself that the protein (13g!) to sugar ratio makes it somewhat healthy.

The dude said he thought he had some -- I figured that probably meant that he would put some in the machine, but there was the sliver of a chance that it meant he was going to give me one for free. That sliver was all I needed to continue to chat up the child that was indeed his daughter.

Yes, it is sad that I can be bought so easily...but these bars are "Now 25% Larger!" for heaven's sake!

Actually, the conversation wasn't entirely a calculated effort. I thought she looked about the same age as my oldest daughter (nine) and I was right. Plus she had just been in Philadelphia auditioning for a role in a play, so that awakened my inner stage mother enough to fuel more chatter.

And, in the end, it was the kid who asked her dad if it was okay to give me a peanut bar. He fished through his big brown cardboard box of haphazardly tossed-in snack food (somehow I would have hoped the process was a little more orderly, like a sterilized robotic arm taking packets from a hermetically sealed carton.)

But who am I to quibble when someone's about to hand me a totally free snack? And I'll probably never see them again, so no further conversational obligation involved.

Once bar was safely in hand, I bid my patrons a fond farewell and hastened off to my little hole in the wall.

And so I sit here and gaze lovingly at my free Fresh-roasted Peanut Bar (Barra de cacahuate if you're into that whole espanol thing) and think, yeah, my life is good.


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