>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Image by elmada via FlickrJust after high school, I once worked for a hotel chain. Not the most glorious job, but it was something. You get to see all sorts of human behavior, good and bad, when you work somewhere that people typically hold in their minds as a temporary residence. I wish I could remember the name of the nice, older lady who always smelled of Jessica McClintock perfume as she was such a delight to chat with.
On the other hand, I certainly won't miss the party-loving folks who seemed to assume that you just love to pick up after them because hey - you're getting paid to do it, right? (Based on the amounts of mess, sometimes and often you can answer that: WRONG.)
After one particularly large, but thankfully not too rowdy, group left, we found mountains of leftover "food." The typical party faire; there were bags of Doritos, 2-litre bottles of pop in many varieties, pizza boxes, and so forth. There was something a little extra in this case, too: A huge stack of Lunchables. You know what I'm talking about - those prepared lunch snack packs that are marketed to busy parents of schoolage children. They contain an amazing variety of non-food food nowadays, but back when this happened it was mostly limited to lunch meat, cheese, jello, crackers, and so forth.
Usually when a guest left something important, or if they left as much unopened food as they did this time, they would be back soon to claim it, so we did what we usually did: We set it in a back room and forgot about it.
I didn't mention that this room had some direct sunlight and no air-conditioning, either. Now, if we're talking unopened bottles of pop or bags of chips, you're pretty sure of what's going to happen when you leave them for three months in an extremely hot room. The pop will still be fine, probably... the chips will be stale. But we also put the entire stack of Lunchables in there, and when I realized they were still there, I was a bit afraid to look at them. I mean... the meat... the cheese...
I quite expected to find the little plastic-sealed packages to be swollen and green inside or something. But it wasn't gross at all - and for that reason, it's more disgusting than it would have been otherwise. The "meat" inside the packages looked perfectly normal. So did the "cheese." And the Jell-O was still firm.
I admit before that time I had eaten a package or two of Lunchables when convenience called, but I swear to this day I have never even been tempted ever since. If that "food" (as they pretend it is) can survive a situation that should turn regular produce into slimy puddles, it doesn't belong anywhere near your body.