Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Revenge of the Refrigerator

Behold the bane of every office breakroom! The focus and receptacle of so many science experiments gone bad... the scourge of clean-freaks everywhere... it lurks in the corner daring some brave soul to explore its hidden depths and peer beyond the front row of leftover lunches. Indeed, I am starkly reminded of Douglas Adam's fine literary masterpiece The Long, Dark Tea-time of the Soul , in which the hero finds himself battling with his cleaning lady about who will open the refrigerator first for fear of what could be growing within.

What? You haven't read it? You should! The first book in that series is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency , and if you've never read anything at all by Douglas Adams, here's a bit of his most popular book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and here's a bit about Adams himself (written in Adam's own style).

But I digress. I was talking about staffroom refrigerators. Now why, you may be asking, why on earth would this subject be the focus of my (rather boring and often literary) blog? Well... let's put it this way. Tonight I removed my tidy lunch bag from the staffroom refrigerator, and was happily eating my grilled chicken and salad. A colleague comes in, searching for a packet of dressing for a salad of her own. (May I interject here that we're not all such healthy eaters? More often than not the favorite lunch spot is the Jacks burger joint across the street. But I digress again.)

There are many packets of dressing, and bits of other - quite unidentifiable - things in the crisper. Alas, however, my colleague discovered that nothing within had an expiration date later than... June 2007. So what did two librarians - committed to archiving and preserving all things of value - do? We chunked 'em in the closest trash recptacle! But that is not the end of the saga. Upon a more careful but still determinedly cursory inspection, I discovered a half-gallon of orange juice tucked far away in the back corner. It looked ... odd ... upon closer review. Lumpy, one might even venture to say. Most decidedly NOT the way vitamin-rich, healthy orange juice should appear. I hooked a finger around the handle and carefully slid it toward me. The date, there in bold, black, ink-stamped numbers, proudly stated "Expires 1/28/07". No, friends, that is not a typo. This OJ was more than a year out of date, and slopped slugglishly within its plastic prison, as though seeking a means of escape in order to release deadly and hithertofore undiscovered toxins into the air.

Tomorrow I may catch holy terror from other members of the staff for daring to remove one precious (yesss, my precioussss) item from the holy of holies. But I feared for my life tonight, and that takes precedence over the verbal drubbing I may receive tomorrow.

In closing I implore you, gentle readers all, during this season of Lent to examine your lives, and discern whether or not you may unknowingly be contributing to the culture of lawlessness in your own staffroom 'fridge. And if you are, with deep regret and penitence for your misdeeds, remove the offending material from behind your colleague's left-over pizza.


darren said...

I have a book entitled "Never Confuse a Memo With Reality," a short book of business aphorisms and advice. One of them is "When the notice on the refrigerator says that it will be cleaned on Friday, grab your salad dressing. This is the only corporate policy that is always implemented."

Zana said...

That's hysterical! Unfortunately, I don't think we have that policy here. If we did, there would be far fewer science experiments in the crisper... Hmmm... maybe something I should bring up to the boss next time he reviews library policy?

The Brain said...

I had to lay down the law in my office after we had some food nearing the intelligence level of the staff member who had left it there. I thought that perhaps the threat to also throw away the tupperware containers (so as to avoid toxic contamination of the kitchen) would be enough to force someone to own up, but it was not to be.