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This blog originally posted on 4 April 2006, was somehow deleted from my archives, and posted again on 10 May, 2006. Again it is missing from my archives. So let's try again!
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I read Mike Staffieri's recent blog about his company picnic, where he, as an O, found so little he could eat. He shares with us his fantasy of a BTD-showcasing, catered menu for next year's picnic, and I enjoyed the imaginary repast. In the real world, however, one must expect to be BTD-limited at these types of functions. When it comes to using such occasions as mass experiments, I wouldn't.
Just as Mike felt limited, people tend not to appreciate being forced to eat this or that way, in a circumscribed setting: Mike doesn't like there being only wheat (and not spelt) buns for his burger; well, in his fantasy, if you want a bun, it's spelt or nothing! For me, it's too in-your-face an approach. I don't think "ticking people off" is the way to endear myself, or my ideas, to them. I prefer the "we're-all-in-the-same-boat" approach. To wit: Twenty years back, in macrobiotic days, I used to fly coast to coast. I'd pack lunch and open it on my tray while everyone else was dealing with whatever was served. My meal would inevitably pique neighbors' interest, and I'd practically have to fight off the whole section's demand for a full lecture!
In non-macro days, I've packed my own meal(s) for air travel, and, no matter what it is/was, my less foresightful co-passengers would clamor for a peek, an explanation, even a taste! Once, from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia, a guy two rows back stood up and exclaimed, "Twenty-five bucks for whatever SHE's eating!" (I had a second sandwich and sold it to him!) We were all in the same boat/plane. I'd found the solution to our shared dilemma, and the others were both jealous and educated.
Why not just do what you need to do in life, to get by as you choose? Interested parties can be counted on to enquire. If you want the company identity of "Weird Food Guy" or "The One Who Put Us Through That Ridiculous Picnic", fine. It's one thing to be the oddball (your choice, no victims); it's another entirely to enclose others in a space and deprive them of their expected chow -- Whoa!
From my restaurant days, I learned this: People are just-so about their food. They have expectations. If you want happy customers (office-mates), you'd better offer 'em what they EXPECT. If the crowd loves dogs 'n burgers with their three-legged-race, don't surprise 'em with "Vegan this year" or even an amazing (catered) variety that changes the whole theme/tenor of the picnic to something less down-home and more precious/rarefied. Even a diverse (great for all blood types) salad bar-type presentation could vex those expecting their annual BBQ ribs! If you're okay with others' less-than-thrilled reactions, fine; if one of those disappointed folks happens to be your supervisor, don't say I didn't warn you!
Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your picnic fantasy with those of us who'd appreciate its realization!
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