Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake
A story for those who work or have worked in an office setting and know the downfalls of what it’s like to have birthday cake at least once a week.

A bagel with cream cheese. No, hummus on a bagel and cucumbers. No! a sesame bagel with chive cream cheese, tomato and cucumbers., is all I can think of for lunch.

I can’t have any of that shit though because I’m on my second to last belt hole and if I eat anymore I’m not going to be able to clasp the last hole on my belt.
What I need to do is eat some miso soup, refill my water mug and think about how embarrassing it would be to get naked in front of Bradley Cooper right now. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if it were dark and there were candles. Oh whatever, I don’t have time for this. I have thirty minutes to get lunch and get back to this desk where I can stoically graze like a cow. Instead of chewing grass, I’ll chew away at my keyboard. That burns calories, right? What if I join an online weight loss community? Maybe that will motivate me to keep myself in check.

Man, I wonder how many calories a cucumber roll has? Plus a small miso soup and why not a pickled cucumber salad too? That sounds pretty damn healthy to me. I’m going to call and order.

Yes, I’ll have a cucumber roll, one small miso and a pickled cucumber salad. That’s all, thank you.”

That will be $7.89.” says the nice Japanese woman taking my order.  ”Ready in 10 minute.”

According to the internet my lunch has less than 300 calories. SCORE! I’m so going to impress Mr. Cooper if we’re ever alone and naked and I eat this way.
I’m so thirsty and so sleepy. Is it clock-out time yet? I should get some coffee while my food is getting made. Two birds with one stone. One black grande coffee equals zero calories! SCORE! Again. I’m on a roll. Plus, I’m burning calories just making my way to Starbucks right now. This is going to be the best lunch ever. The downside is that it’s turning out to be a pretty pricey lunch.

$2.65 for one black grande!” announces the young skinny female cashier at Starbucks.

I can’t believe black coffee costs this much. I can’t believe this chick gets free coffee all day and health insurance. She’s got it made. I bet she stays really skinny from all of the caffeine intake and moving around at work. Career change?

Ruth! Black grande!” screams out the young barista at the end of the pick up bar.

Now, I just gotta pick up the Japanese food and head back for a healthy lunch at the desk.

Konichiwa!” gleefully sing out the staff at DOMO.

Hi, I’m here to pick up an order for sushi, pickled cucumber…” I start to explain but before I finish the cashier interrupts.  ”Yes! Yes! I have order. You have $7.89 cash?

Umm, I have a debit card and a $5 dollar bill.” I respond. I have spent the rest of my cash on coffee.

$10 dollar credit card limit!” she says and holds on tighter to my to-go bag.

Can you make an exception?” I plea with a winning smile.

NO. Because you will keep doing it if we don’t enforce.” she says in that super condescending smiley almost with laughter but drop dead cute “Asian” way.

Oh, ok, well then I guess add another roll?  The same kind.”  I have to give in. This now brings up my calories to less than 500 for lunch instead of less than 300.

Ok. Thank you!” the triumphant cashier says.

As I walk out with my food after losing a battle with my wallet and a credit limit, I look at my phone and realize it’s 1:02 p.m. and I have a missed text from a co-worker.  It reads: “Crystal’s birthday cake is here, meet us at her office- time for song n cake!“.

As I’m walking back I realize I could’ve eaten at my favorite Middle Eastern place twice with the money I spent on coffee and “light” Japanese. I guess I don’t have to eat it all. I can save the second roll for dinner, or a midnight snack.

What I really have to focus on is NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE have any cake. Politely explain that I’d love to have some with the team but that I promised my “trainer,” a.k.a. my conscience that I would not indulge. That’s what that skinny bitch Angela always says and no one ever begs her twice. Everyone just starts talking about how they wish they had her self-restraint. I denied cake once since working here in the last two years. Everyone just smiled and handed me a slice anyway. I left it on my desk as a give away all day hoping someone would pick it up and eat it, but there were no takers. I ended up eating it three minutes before I clocked out. It was from Whole Foods. Can you blame me?

I rush back to the office to drop off my food at my desk and head over to the birthday girl’s bash. We sing, we bring in the cake and we watch her get red and blow out a candle. The distribution of cake begins shortly after, and I wait in line to hug the birthday girl and sneak out before having to reject a slice. As I approach her for a hug the department’s assistant is working away like an evil anti-diet elf and slices generous pieces of store bought extra processed birthday cake with blue icing. I hear people telling each other how freakishly good the store bought cake is. I suspect no one has eaten lunch yet either. Store cake sucks. Especially with blue icing. However, this frosting looks like it’s buttermilk frosting. THINK SKINNY THOUGHTS!

Thank you so much, Ruth,” says the birthday girl as we hug.

I hope you have a really great birthday. I’d stay but I have a meeting in 20.” I say with urgency.

Oh, here, don’t forget a piece! It’s actually really yummy store bought cake. I don’t know how they make it, but it’s pretty damn good. Eat it later!” suggests the birthday gal.

I can’t take the pressure and I take it, knowing that when no one is watching I’ll put it on the FREE for all table or dump it in the trash. I have lukewarm black coffee and a healthy Japanese lunch waiting for me, damn it!

I sit back on my chair and notice I have four voicemails and fifteen missed emails. Ugh. I’m going to have to multi-task chewing, talking and typing. If I work up a sweat maybe I’ll get my lunch down a couple of calories. Score?

One and a half hours later, I’ve responded to every email, voicemail, attend a quick pow wow meeting and head back to half a grande black coffee and very cold miso soup. At this point I’m starving. It’s past 3 p.m., and the piece of birthday cake has literally become a real life cartoon on my desk and is singing, “Eat ME! I’m so yummy! I don’t know how they do it! Eat ME! I’m so yuuuuuummmmmmyyyyyyyy!.

I can’t give in damn it! I’ve only got a couple hours left at work. I chow down my soup, salad and one roll. I put the extra cucumber roll next to the piece of cake hoping someone will eye it and take it away from my desk. I make a little post-it that reads “EAT ME” with a smiley face and in big letters I add “FREE.”

As I continue working away, I keep looking at the piece of cake and the roll of sushi. I’m hungry again. The angel and devil are staring straight at me and I don’t know what to do. I reach out to the Facebook community and put as my status, “Cucumber roll and piece of cake staring at my face, which one should be devoured? One will make me feel like shit. The other will make working out easy.

Within three minutes I get nine responses. Looks like everyone is using the last leg of work to cruise Facebook. Six of the responses say I should have them both because I’m beautiful and I can work it out later. Two say to take the higher road and another one just gives me a link to www.thisiswhyyourfat.com. It looks like there is a clear winner, but am I really hungry for both? I take time to repeat “LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE” by Oprah in my head like a mantra about thirty times and decide that my best life is never regretting anything. So I don’t eat anything, and I just keep working.

Wait. Does that mean that not regretting anything means that I should live life to the fullest? Indulge a bit and work it off later? I could balance all of this out by just having a low carb salad later and drinking tea all night after my work out. Right? It sounds awful. I hate food, and I hate store bought cake that tastes freakishly good.

The blue frosting on the cake is starting to melt and mix with the surrounding white and bright pink frosting from some writing. The sushi on the other hand looks green, healthy and still in prime condition. I remember that I still have hot sauce in my drawer and a packet of soy sauce that will really make that roll shine.

I go to www.thisiswhyyourfat.com for encouragement and then search “Bradley Cooper shirtless.”  It works.  I refocus on work and look down at my belt on it’s second to last punch hole.

It’s 6 p.m. and time for me to go home. No one has taken the roll or the cake. The cake has literally become a mosaic icing painting of blue, purple and pink.  The roll is still looking lovely.

I shut my computer down, change my heels to flats, put my hair up in a ponytail as a reminder that I’m on my way to the gym and pack up my stuff. I’m ready to go. As soon as I pack away the roll in the office refrigerator for lunch tomorrow and throw away this mess of a cake. GO ME! I didn’t have any cake! GO office for not encouraging me to eat it! It’s been a good day.

As I’m about to throw the piece of cake away, I get a text from the birthday gal, Crystal, “Hey! Thnx 4 da bday celebration! Don’t forget to get Chris’ cookie cake tomorrow for his 32nd bday. I got da ice cream. ;) xo- C

How could I have forgotten??? I’m supposed to pick up the double chocolate chip with frosting cookie cake tomorrow. It’s been arranged since the start of the quarter. Duhhh! Chris is my associate and I HAVE to stand in his office until things get awkward and people stop talking about things no one cares about after the cake cutting and mandatory hug line routine.

I look at the cake and flashback to the day’s activities. I become irrationally upset that I don’t have health insurance like the skinny girl at Starbucks and that the skinny girl at Starbucks is probably getting ready to go out with “the girls” Sex and the City style, and I have to go home, work out, count calories and pass out after CONAN so that I can come back to this place and eat more crap, deal with more inane emails and of course scramble in a time to have myself a healthy lunch under 300 calories since I sit on my ass for eight hours a day. Is this my best life? Did my parents immigrate here for this “American dream”?

I take out a plastic fork from my drawer next to the soy sauce packet and take a bite out of crime. One minute later, there is what has now become purple icing on my fingers and a smeared plastic plate.

I had no choice. No one really likes cookie cake, and I’m not going to miss out on “LIVING MY BEST LIFE”, which includes freakishly good store bought cake. OPRAH would totally understand. Bradley Cooper on the other hand will probably have to love me in low lights.

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