#435 Food ogling

Check out that sexy plastic tray.

Welcome to the crowded food court, workplace lunch room, or high school cafeteria. Thin napkins and ketchup smears cover tables as wailing babies and french fry fumes fill the air. It’s time for lunch so your stomach’s grumbling and all you can think about is how hungry you are.

That’s when it happens.

A smoking babe struts by and all you notice are her enchiladas. A hot guy cruises over and all you see is his taco salad. Just then someone runs over your foot with their wheelchair but you’re too hypnotized by their thai curry to feel any pain.

Eyes pop and drool drips as you stand spinning in a neon daze. This is modern day hunting and you’re tray gawking with the finest. You know you’re food ogling when one of these classic moments happens:

1. The Shoulder Tap. You’re dining out with friends and you spot a couple eating something good by the window. You stare down at your menu and discover that it’s … just text! No steaming stir frys or scrambled slams staring up at you. Now you eyeball their meals and casually stroll by on your way to the bathroom to see what’s cooking. If you’re like me, you try and fail to find their meal on the menu. “They’ve got something covered in cheese and tomato sauce over there… but there’s no chicken parmesan listed.” Now you give a guilty smile and shoulder tap the waiter for help. Or for extra rudeness points you can yell across the room to ask them. Maybe even clink a fork on your wine glass to get their attention.

2. The Bad Trade. After reuniting with your three geek pals at the plastic food court table under the fake umbrella you notice three of you got cold sandwiches while one person came back with a steaming plate of hot lasagna and fresh garlic bread. Staring at that delicious lasagna is too much so finally someone snaps and tries to make a bad trade. “How about six inches of my sub for a few bites?” It’s a pathetic offer but they had to try. What have you got to lose besides bland lettuce scraps and a green tomato slice?

3. The Lazy Man’s Regret. There’s always one guy willing to wait ten minutes at the made-to-order pasta station in the caf or the omelet station at the hotel buffet. Sure, you think he’s a fool at first, but after he sits down you can’t help stare deep into his dish and curse your impatient ways. “I too could have had egg-white omelet with cheese and mushrooms.” Tears spill as you think about the cardboard scrambled eggs and cold chewy pancakes you just ate.

4. The Unobtainable Leftovers. That stack of microwaves in the office cafeteria is a leftover fashion show. This is where I stuff my freezer-burned chili while drooling over the leftover fettuccine and homemade curries popping out of other machines. These meals aren’t accessible to me, no line I can wait in, no money I can pay. So I’m stuck staring like a food ogling fool.

When we’re hungry our stomachs rule and office meetings, bathrooms breaks, and text messages fade to the background. Now it’s time to food ogle and fill your stomach by spotting ice cream sources, sniffing steaming coffees, and tracking back those greasy snacks so you can fill your belly with a whole lotta


Photos from: here, here, here, and here

34 thoughts on “#435 Food ogling

  1. I just so happend to read this during the worst time of night…an hour before lunch time. Working a twelve hour shift during the middle of the night is rough sometimes, so I choose to take my break more than half way through my shift…just so happens it’s about an hour before that time and coworkers have been walking by with their delicious smelling food and here I am…food ogling.

  2. I laughed aloud waaaay more than once while reading this (not something I typically do before six a.m. most days!) … I’ll mention again for the 6,498th time: I LOVE the way you write!

    Lunch envy is no fun. Sitting in the lounge chowing on a pb&j while someone else has a freshly delivered and piping hot café soup/sandwich is so sad. Not that this happened to me yesterday or anything …

    #3 was the story of our lives back when I lived in the dorms. The omelet station and the make-it-yourself Belgian waffle were the two dining hall hotspots. Most the time, there’d be at least one in the group who’d just say, “Eh, screw it … I’m not waiting 20 minutes for a waffle … ” But others would wait and it ended up being a double whammy. Lazy Man regretted not only NOT getting a delightfully fresh omelet/waffle, but also the fact that they had to hold down the fort alone while everyone else went ahead and waited. Poor sucker.

    1. You’ve got to time it right, in the dining halls. I worked the omelet station on Saturday mornings for a semester, and there was practically no wait at 11, but wait until 1 or 1:15 (we closed at 1:30), and the wait was almost half an hour!!

  3. Unfortunately, I’m the queen of ,the lazy (wo)man regret, and the obvious next step, the bad trade, which rarely ever works :( Can’t help that green grass syndrome after all

  4. When my sister was still living in state and we would go out to eat, she would always get some wrap/salad thing and I would get a burger and fries.
    She was notorious for stealing my first bite, and I would let her.

  5. “You stare down at your menu and discover that it’s … just text!”

    This made me laugh out loud. Thanks! =)

  6. I’m soooo bad at this! I will patrol an entire food court seating area just scoping out the food on others’ trays until I see exactly what I want. I have no sense of shame and will unabashedly stare at others’ food for as long as it takes me to recognize it. Those lucky eaters probably think I’m getting ready to steal their purses or babies, but I just want to know what they’re eating!

  7. I’ve been reading from 1000 to catch up, and I FINALLY did…Yay! Now I can comment the day the post goes up, instead of 6 months later, haha. (It took me forever because I had to read all the comments too. I feel like I aready know all the “regulars”…you know who you are.)
    And that is
    AWESOME! :)

      1. Nice!…I’m still stuck in the 600’s but I still check in on the new ones. It would go so much faster if those darn witty comments didn’t suck me in!

  8. My friends always bring better lunches than I do at school. Sometimes I’m too disgusted at my lunch and they throw a bit of deliciousness my way. :D

  9. this is what my kids say to me, “STOP STARING MOM!”
    to the others, “We don’t let her out much.”
    by then I may be over my limit on water or coffee and I am in hysterics!

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