Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No noodle soup for me, thanks

When I leave for lunch I usually go down the center aisle and either into the break room or out the front door, depending upon whether I've brought my lunch or am eating out.  On my way I pass lots of people in their cubicles, in various stages of eating lunch. Yesterday as I was making my way to my yogurt and soup I was struck by a bizarre sense of despair right there in the middle of the aisle.  It only lasted a moment. It slowed me down for a second, but I didn't stop and evaluate.  It was over almost as soon as it started.  I think I would have forgotten about it if it hadn't happened again today in exactly the same spot. 

Back when I'd just graduated college and was trying to simultaneously keep body and soul together, pay rent, appease the student loan people (who wanted their money right! now! dammit!), and find full-time work, this stuff was a huge staple in my pantry.  And by that I mean it was practically the only thing in my pantry.  I lived on it.  It's easy to make, doesn't require much in the way of kitchen clean-up afterward, and (most importantly) it's dirt cheap.  I think I used to get them 4 for a dollar at the local grocery store. Some weeks they were all I could afford.

This almost two-year state of lack of money/constant fear of illness/job-hunting/keeping the loan folks off my back felt like a deep dark hole I was never going to get out of.  Some days it was all I could do not to throw back my head and howl with frustration, despair, and rage.

It's exactly how I felt when I walked past Hui's cubicle yesterday, and again today.  I figured it out though.  Guess what she was eating for lunch?

Yup. Ramen noodle cup-a-soup. Come to think of it, I've never bought one pack of those things in the almost 20 years it's been since I could afford other food. 

Talk about smell being a powerful memory aid.  Ugh.  I think that until the weather gets warmer and it's too hot for soup, I'm going down the side-aisle to get out of the work room.  Don't want to burst into tears in the middle of the room just because of ramen noodles.


Average Jane said...

Wow, it's amazing how powerful scent memory can be!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you'll want to desensitize yourself when you have the time. And your alone.

Just Me said...

I read this a couple weeks ago, but posting comments via Droid is frustrating for me. Love the QWERTY keyboard, but my bad aim on the touch screen is frustrating.

I vividly remember a card that my mom saved from my sister's college days with your current employer. The cover was simple: a blue field with a little cartoonish person in the center on his knees with his hands clasped. Inside, the sentiment was, "Please, send money." My sister added her own note: "I bought Smack Ramen today, and I ate it."