Tuesday, October 27, 2009


*** I did Wednesday's color because it immediately triggered this story. My co-worker's actions are completely made up, just in case you remember who went with me to this conference.***

“What if I told you it was Chinese?” the speaker questions. I look around the room. I am now one of many who have their hand up. A couple of clues ago, almost no one would raise their hand, including me. She wants to know who would be willing to eat what she has in the lunch box. Each clue seems to put more hands in the air. A few drop down each time, but not nearly as many as went up.

I am attending a conference on eating disorders. I work with some children who have nutritional deficiencies or eating issues largely blamed on their disability or the methods their parents are using to control the symptoms. I don’t know it now, but this one day conference will greatly shape how I teach my children about healthy eating rituals. Other parents will think I am nuts. In the end I will be rewarded with two children who have very healthy eating habits. But right now, she is experimenting with me…. and the rest of her audience.

She is entertaining. I think her name is Susan. I am not sure because I arrived back to my seat after introductions had been made. It is easy to listen to her talk. She shares a lot of personal stories. What makes her opinion so valid to me is not her credentials or experiences, it is her ability to relate the cause and effect; to explain the why and the how of what she is saying. I have always been a fan of this kind of teaching. “What if I told you it was served room temperature?” My hand goes up again. The overall numbers seem to stay pretty even. My co-worker leans over and whispers, “If it is Chinese, I don’t care how it is served. I am not going to eat it.” I smile at her comment and wonder if she ever eats anything.

Susan smirks after surveying the hands in the air. I know she will be using this experiment to prove a point later. I am curious as to what it will be. She begins talking about food sensitivities. Not the kind of sensitivities that go with allergies. She is talking about our sensitivity to temperature. How does the nursery rhyme go again? Some like it hot. Some like it cold. Some like it in a pot nine days old. That kind of sensitivity. It makes sense to me. My husband and I are on different planets when it comes to things like this.

“What if I told you it is green?” Almost everyone’s hands go down. There are maybe a dozen hands still in the air. Mine is not among them. I was so sure she was describing a fortune cookie that I feel almost insulted by her newest assertion. Point proven, even a color can cause food sensitivity. I am incredibly curious to know what it is. My cell phone vibrates. It is a 911 page from the office. I whisper to my co-worker that I need to call them back and quietly slide out of the room unnoticed.

I reach the lobby area and call back. I give them a temporary solution that will last until I come in the next morning. I turn to go back to the presentation, hoping I haven’t missed the answer. My co-worker is sitting on a deep cushioned couch. All of our stuff is piled on the chair next to her. “Is it over?” I say, confused as to her presence.

“No,” she says and fakes a yawn. “It’s just so boring I thought I would fall asleep somewhere more comfortable than a folding chair and banquet table. Do you want sit and rest or are you ready to leave?” Although I have a lot of respect for her ability to do her job, moments like these drive me nuts. I don’t know how she has such great relationships with her clients when she can be so clueless to the feelings of her co-workers. I am ready to tell her to chill out here and that I am going to go finish listening to the presentation when a small group of women walk by. I overhear the tall women made even taller by her high heels say, “Oh my God. I so could have gobbled that right up! Too bad she only had a few for those few who stuck with it.”

My co-worker hears it to. She is on her feet and putting her coat on. “Looks like its over. Let’s go!” I walk over and pick up my coat. As I swing it around my shoulders I can’t help but think, “What Chinese food is rolled by hand, crunchy, served room temperature, and green?” Damn my pager and damn the color green. I’ll never know what it was. I pick up my purse and notebook, turning around, “Lets go then.”


  1. I know exactly who you are referring to bu the funny thing was I do not really remember you going to the conference. It is very vague. Probably because who you went with. You captured the attitude and nature of your subject well and I can here you latent frustration even all these years later. Wow I know that feeling well.
    I wonder about the take on this from some one that does not know the job or the person.
    Good job!

  2. Out of curiosity, who do you think I am referring to? I am honestly curious because these 'actions' never happened. I made them up. (Well, except for the part of leaving before the answer.)

    As I read it today, it seems to reflect one person's attitude and another's work ethic. Funny, because it wasn't purposeful. I do like that I drew on my experiences without realizing it.

  3. Okay, first, what was the answer?

    Second, I do not know this story, but it is quite funny how the co-worker doesn't think the presenter was as entertaining as the rest of the audience did. Why was she bored? She whispered to the protagonist that she'd eat anything if it was chinese. This showed that she was in-tune with the presentation, but then the protagonist left and a few moments later, the co-worker "checked out." What happened?

    It was confusing to me. But, wow, again, you and your descriptions. The hands that went up and the hands that went down...I was sitting next to you watching all that.


  4. Okay, I'm thinking either stuffed green cabbage rolls or some kind of sushi (even though it is generally known as a japanese cousine).

    It is KILLING me that you never found out!!


  5. How do you think I feel? Every time I read a menu at a new Chinese restaurant, I search for something that meets these clues. No luck.