A couple of weeks ago at work I received an email inviting me to lunch with some of the people who were over our bank’s west Tennessee market, and today was the day. I wasn’t going to go. The email was an invitation, not a requirement, and not one to insert myself into a situation where I’m surrounded by a group of people, none of whom I knew, or wanting to disrupt my normal lunch schedule of eating a sandwich as quickly as possible before using the remainder of the hour to write my book, I decided to ignore the invitation, thinking it would go away, and I thought it had. Fast forward to yesterday, the phone rang at work and I answered it after the first ring, saying thanks for calling the bank and stating my name before asking how I could assist them. The person on the other end of the line said I was just the person they were looking for. A sinking feeling hit me in the pit of my stomach as I scanned my brain, desperately trying to think of someone I’d upset, who was now probably calling to yell at me, but my mind drew a blank. It was the person who had sent out the email invitation and she was calling to see if I was coming to lunch the following day. Apparently my non-response didn’t go unnoticed like I had hoped, and not the sort of person who likes confrontation, I said I would go, unable to quickly think of an excuse that would prevent me from doing so.
I arrived at the bank’s Memphis headquarters today, and grabbed my box lunch along with a cup of ice water. There was tea available, but it was sweet, one of the downfalls of living in the south. I expected to get a ham sandwich on white bread, which was marked on the box, but it was on wheat bread. There was a soggy tomato that had moistened the bread to an unsavory texture, but not wanting to seem ungrateful I ate it anyway, not that I had much choice. It was either eat the sandwich or be hungry for the rest of the day. The only good thing about it was that there was no mayonnaise on it. The potato chips which were kettle cooked and normally something I would like went mostly uneaten, because people were talking throughout the lunch and each time I ate a chip, each crunch sounded like a minor explosion, at least it did in my head, so not wanting to be rude and shift the focus from the talking to my loud chewing, I put the mostly full bag of chips back in the box.
The lunch meeting consisted mostly of talks about our training and ways the company could improve upon it in the future, and out of the entire hour and a half ordeal, I probably contributed about fifteen seconds of my divine wisdom. When the lunch finally concluded I was the first one out the door and down the elevators, eager to get back to work, where it might not always be enjoyable, but at least I’m in an environment where I feel comfortable.