Chew On This

Let’s just call her the Bitter Frau from the Astroid Vitriol (BFAV). Better still, the Predictable BFAV. Monday to Friday, exactly 6 minutes late every day, she clippity-clops into our cubicle neighborhood to begin the — I use the term loosely — workday.

Her morning routine never varies. Remove the family-size bowl from a file cabinet drawer next to her desk, accompanied by banging and slamming. Make a trip to the kitchen carrying said bowl, bag of muesli, and assorted fruits in a plastic supermarket bag. Fill the aforementioned family-size bowl 3/4 full with muesli. Cut up the fruit and dump it in. Saturate the contents with a generous pour of free milk from the company fridge. (Why should it cost her?)

Yo ho ho and a bowl of mush.

She returns to her desk somewhere between 9:22 a.m. and 9:35 a.m. And then the bitch fest begins.

I justtt koodn’t get up today,” she announces on this day, as she drops her ass into a swivel chair. “I  felt like mein het was ful of ledt.”

Biting my tongue here.

In keeping with the Germanic bent of the morning, I secretly screw the earbuds connected to my iPhone into my ears as Predictable BFAV blabbers on about how stupid people are, especially men, especially men on trains and in elevators. I scroll to Beethoven’s Leonore Overture on my iPhone and hit PLAY.

Dahhhh! So it begins.

In seconds, I am transported. Five minutes into the piece, I am close to rapture.

Fiddling with the controls on my phone drowns out her audible chewing, non-stop bitching with a mouthful of food and the cacophony of spoon clinking against bowl. As the racket of her eating and bitching grows louder, so does the audio level of the Beethoven in my ears.

This juxtaposition — of  low and high German — is exhilarating. Drowning her out so utterly is the most pleasurable experience I’ve had on the job.

Coasting through the next 12 or so minutes in an on-and-off Ludwig-induced bliss state (for fifteen+ seconds when my boss annoyingly interrupts by wandering into our cubicle ‘hood and handing me a file with a post-it note of instructions stuck to it  — I click PAUSE). When he disappears, Beethoven is back ON.

When the notes of the flute begin, elevating and floating above orchestra among the frenzy of strings, I know that joy is following close behind.

The dramatic finale of the Leonore Overture explodes in my ears. The piece is over but the muesli chomping continues. Sadly, the earbuds must come out. There is work to do.

She is still eating.

You know what I think? People that chew loudly and with their mouths open are abscheulich!

But it doesn’t matter what I think.

At 10:30 A.M., the family-size bowl, though 90 % emptied, is visibly encrusted with scraps of muesli. A puddle of milk stagnates at its nadir. The bowl will remain that way on her desk until about noon.

Then she will carry the bowl to the sink in the employee kitchen, fill it with water, and leave it soaking for all to see until mid- afternoon, at which time she will decide to wash it.

This is how she divides up her time. It helps promote the myth that she is so busy doing work-related chores (Sudoku! The free-newspaper crossword! Reading her library book (why should it cost you?)! E-shopping for polyester clothes! Sneaking out the back door to go for a walk and returning with a bag of take-out — and technically takes her lunch hour [the eating part] — a lunch hour which typically lasts 2/12 to 3 hours).

Like I said. Predictable. Ach!

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One Response to “Chew On This”

  1. C.C. in Annapolis Says:

    Just came back from the Fatherland…..never again.

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