By the Water Cooler

I wrote this post and called it "The Luau Episode". And then, I bumped into By the Water Cooler Contest on Parul's blog. So, I thought, why not submit this for the contest and change the title? So here goes:

This morning, strangely, I never felt the usual Monday blues. Instead, I looked forward to going to work, because, it has kind of been a long weekend for me, what with me working from home on Thursday and Friday. So, I was all set to go to work. To be honest, I was more than enthused, because, there was a Luau Luncheon that I had been invited to. You might ask, Luau and you? Are you sure? There is nothing more ludicrous than a vegetarian being all excited about Luau. What's in it for me, huh?? Well, it is fun to mingle, meet and greet, may be dress up a little and be noticed, isn't it? Who knows, I might bump into my recruiter who would jump up to me and say "Hey....Guess what? Someone has been reading your blogs recently and is pretty much convinced that you would be a bestseller.....yes! They want you to write a novel for them and you start right away! You can leave this programmer writer job behind and work on your book! You can work from home and they will publish your book...just bring in all the creativity! You might be on the shelves next year!....". I was in this state of abstracted musing, when I heard a Knock! Knock! that jolted me right back to reality. In a lickety split, I minimized's "Today's astrology for you" window, opened up the document that I was supposed to be working on, and in a calm and composed voice, said "Come in." The door opened and there was my boss J wearing a flowery shirt and displaying his thirty-two grayish teeth in an ear to ear grin. He needs a haircut, I thought. And a teeth whitening kit.

J: "Hi Shaan!"
Me: "Hi J! Wassup?"
J: "I was wondering..hmm..hmm didja...hmm...did you get an invite to this lunch at the Commons?"
Me: "Yeahhhhh, I did"
J: "Are you planning on going?"
Me (Hesitating a little, because am wondering why he is he going to say you can't go during office hours, stay put in your room!) : "Mmmm..yeah may be for half an hour or so..."
J: "Yeah, I want to check it out too.....but I don't have a car....."
Me (Wait a did u even get invited to this? I am not allowed at your come you are allowed at mine? ): "Oh, I will be taking the Shuttle....".
J: "Oh, that would work for me too...."

Clearly, the food attracted J, like honey attracts a Bee. He must have made big plans of satisfying his growling belly with hearty pork, or, maybe the whole pig as such. And, as J doesn't know anyone at the Luau, he was seeking company. OK, Old man, I need a face to look at too, while are busy porking, and let that face be yours!

I hoped to leave at 11:00 am, but J had a meeting and we couldn't leave before 12:15 pm.We agreed to meet by the water cooler at 12:15 pm. So, we got into the Shuttle (not the space shuttle, just a cab that takes us from one building to the other) and trooped together to the Commons.  We talked about my work, his work, our work, my company and his company. Upon reaching, we took the elevator to the Luau area and were quite surprised to see a small hall and an even smaller crowd. The Old man was disappointed. He probably expected more crowd so he could hide while quietly tucking in all the food. All this exposure was not for him. During our ride together he did modestly agree that since they were providing lunch, he thought he might as well check it out. I am pretty sure, his wife doesn't do much cooking, given how busy she is with her knitting.

The hostess greeted us, gave me a flower garland (Aloha!) and showed us the way to the buffet. J piled his plate, while I was asking around if any of it was vegetarian. The woman gave me a Are-you-kidding-this-is-Luau look. The rice and the veggies, she said. Not bad, I thought and took a scoop of rice and poured a flavorless blandest curry over it and walked over to where J was sitting. J was having a 1-on-1 with Mahi Mahi, so I chose not to bother him. I looked around to spot my E-Rep or my recruiter, but could see no one. Sigh! What about my dream of bumping into my recruiter who would have some fab news for me? I took a deep breath and strutted to grab a Cookie, while J went for another round. OK, I sat and waited for him, chatting in between his mouthfuls. At last he was done and went to get himself a Cookie. We thanked the hostess for the great lunch. The kind woman, filled a glass with Cookies and a Candie and handed it over to me. Thanks, I muttered and we left.

J is actually a nice man. He has become the butt of my jokes, but he is not so bad. He is smart for his age (mid sixties, may be), bicycles to work in summer, his mom lives in a studio in Waikiki (ah, that explains the Hawaiian shirts he wears to work every day) and he visits her once in two years. Not much room, so I stay at the Hotel, he said. His son lives in Sacramento and is visiting with his wife this Christmas. His daughter races Go Karts, lives in San Jose and about two months back surprise visited them on her way to Canada for a race. We just had dinner when she called and said she will be over in half hour, he beamed. He visits his kids once in two years, driving down in the trailer that he recently traded in for a new one. See, I know all about my boss.

When we got back, he said the lunch was not quite what he expected. What did he expect? A huge banquet of grilled pineapples? No, that's what I expected, but he said it was just OK. I was taken aback, because, even after eating two rounds of everything that crawls, creeps and swims, he said it was just OK. Did you not like the food, I asked. He replied, "Clearly, it has been sitting there for a while..!!". Right, he probably thought he will have a personal chef who would start grilling as soon as he stepped into the hall and serve him right-off-the-grill-food. May be he dreamt about it all morning.....not a bad thought, though.


Parul said...

Nice! But um, rules say you need to link to my post.

SG said...

Luau for a vegetarian! I just smiled.

Shaan said...

@SG - Hee Hee, yeah right!

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