On most days, I have the perfect excuse for not going out for lunch: I do cafeteria supervision. That’s right. I eat walking around in the company of 400 preteens. Still, there are some occasions that find me out of the building for full-day meetings, in-service trainings, and whatnot. Sure enough, when the noon hour strikes and everyone files out to their cars, someone inevitably stops me and kindly asks, “Want to get lunch?”
The impromptu lunch invitation. It’s so thoughtful and polite. I appreciate it a great deal. But being a brown-bagger, I awkwardly stammer on about how I brought my own lunch and hold up my reusable lunch tote as proof. I’m positive that I give this exchange infinitely more thought than the people who flit past me on their way to myriad fast food places. I usually leave the encounter feeling a bit guilty. But by the end of my lunch break, I land pretty solidly in the sorry-not-sorry field.
Here’s why I’m not sorry I brought my lunch:
- I save money. If eating out costs between $5-$15/day, that’s a possible extra $75 a week I’d be spending. I like Panera, but I don’t like it that much.
- I eat healthier. Perhaps it’s because I eat out so infrequently during the day, but I tend to treat meals out as “last meals.” I don’t drink Diet Coke, but I’ll take an extra large. I try not to eat sweets, but I better get a cookie. Those vegetables look awfully healthy, I think I’ll take a pass on them today.
- I’m indecisive. I hate being the person who chooses where to eat. I like routines. I eat the same thing for breakfast and essentially the same thing for lunch every day. It might be boring, but it saves me time and frees up my thoughts for things that matter.
- I hate hunting down parking. I get to work really early. Mostly to get things done, but also because I hate circling for parking. One time I went out during lunch and had to walk two blocks back to school since the lot was full. No, thanks.
- I prefer to spend my time doing other things. If I’m at work, I do lunch duty. It’s a prime opportunity to bond with students, and it’s also a teacher-approved side hustle. If I happen to have an forty-minute lunch break, I’m all about running photocopies, lesson planning, grading, or reading a book.
- I find other ways to socialize. Lest you think I’m an antisocial monster, some of my favorite coworkers are cafeteria supervisors as well. If I’m not doing lunch duty, I can always go hang out in the teachers’ lounge.
- I happen to like peanut butter and jelly, thankyouverymuch. You’d think after spending nine months of each year of my childhood and adulthood in cafeterias eating PB&J that I’d be sick of them. But truly, they are my favorite.*
*If you think I’m boring or PB&J is gross, you’re in good company. It’s pragmatically unanimous among the students. Though, they gobble down the mystery taco bowls, so what do they know?
So Tell Me…Do you bring your lunch every day? Do you turn down requests to eat out as awkwardly as I do?