PEOPLE EATING IN CARS, AWAY FROM WORK

PEOPLE EATING IN CARS, AWAY FROM WORK

Hanes HallbirnTuesday,20 November 2012

The Snap:

A few months ago, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out of the four walls of the office building that I’d been working in. So instead of stuffing my gullet full of PB&J at my desk like most of my colleagues, or sauntering over to the shitty cafeteria to mingle and stare at the circa 1980 TV, I walked out to my truck, and went for a drive. For about 10 minutes, I drove around aimlessly, before turning into the parking lot of a hardware store. I carefully unwrapped the contents of my lunch sack while listening to the radio, and then proceeded to work methodically through each item in my lunch.

And then suddenly, it hit me: I wasn’t alone.

The Download:

No one was in the truck with me. No, it was something much more puzzling. As I scanned the parking lot and finished off the last bites of a banana, I noticed other people, alone in their cars, munching away. Like me, they just couldn’t take it anymore. We all, apparently, just had to get away from our respective versions of That Place. That Damn Place.

Soon, this became my everyday routine. As the clock struck noon, I’d head out to my truck, drive over to the hardware store’s parking lot, and snack away. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not really a loner, and I wasn’t yearning for solitude. It’s just that there was never any time to stop and think while at work. The constant flow of email, the new project requests, the stopovers at my desk for information — they never stopped. Not even for twenty minutes. And so, the parking lot become my quiet time, a time that I shared with others.

I left that company a short time ago, but I still wonder about the people who I’d see everyday in the parking lot. We never got out of our cars. Never spoke with one another. And we rarely ever made eye contact. But somehow, we had a connection. I know that I felt part of something. Part of a group of others, who, like me, just didn’t fit in yukking it up in the cafeteria, or who just wanted thirty minutes of uninterrupted peace while eating.

On second thought, fuck all that romantic bullshit. In an always-on world, with smartphones in our pockets, laptops and tablets that make it easy to bring work home, and teammates on the other side of the world who expect late-night responses, perhaps we just felt like this:

Hat Tips:

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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