My cubical at work is very much me. I like to be surrounded by the things that I love. There are action figures, posters, postcards, trinkets and pictures stacked in the desk and pinned to the wall. There’s a rainbow of pens (way more than I need, some that I don’t even use), an assortment of Post-It notes, my headphones, multiple mugs (I do not drink coffee and only occasionally drink tea). The crown jewel, though, is my snack drawer.
My snack drawer looks like what would happen if an 8-year-old got to run through a grocery store unattended and buy whatever she wanted. It’s filled with fruit snacks, Little Debbie treats and a carefully curated selection of Tastykakes. Sometimes I’ll buy a box of sugary cereal to eat for breakfast for the week. I’m sure my constant crunching does not bother anyone in the vicinity of my desk at all. The highlight of my year came when I learned the parmesan Goldfish I had stashed in there were not one of the four varieties of the cracker that were recalled in July. My snack drawer gets me out of bed in the morning.
The drawer has evolved over the years. I’d buy some things here and there to munch on, but it’s at its creative peak right now. I cleaned out my cube earlier this year specifically to make room for more snacks, and I really felt like a genius. I play Tetris with treat boxes, fitting them in to make storage and selection more efficient. It’s an art, honestly.
Earlier this year, I added a jar of candy to my desk. My brother’s girlfriend got me a sweet apothecary-style glass jar for Christmas that she filled with some of my favorites. I brought it to work after our holiday break, and I’ve been replenishing it ever since. It’s looking a little lonely at the moment—currently there are some Skittles and a handful of Jolly Ranchers. But its day will come.
I often find myself shopping for snacks when I probably shouldn’t be buying food—when I’m hungry, when I’m stressed, when we’re readying the newspaper for press and it feels like the only way to ease my anxiety is to chain-eat Fruit Roll-Ups. I walk out of the grocery store with multiple bags and think, “Yes, surely this $20 worth of disgusting high fructose corn syrup will last me the rest of the month,” and then I house a box of Gushers before 5 p.m. Serving size is a myth that I do not believe in, especially between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. I justify eating like this by going to the gym, like, once every three weeks. I’m still burning calories, man!
Sometimes I forget what’s in there. It’s like a fun little surprise when I open it up and find a bag of chips I forgot I bought. I’m at the store all over again! Except I’ve already wasted the money on gross food that I am now one step closer to consuming.
Ultimately, the snacks are there for anyone who wants them. Honestly, I want other people to partake so I don’t feel bad about eating a box of Thin Mints in two days. I think my coworker Laura Pollack, our digital media manager, has developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of my drawer opening. Laura sits at the cube in front of me, and our desks are separated by a pane of glass. When I slide the drawer open, she turns around, we make eye contact and we feast. We exist on the same snack wavelength. Our post-lunch cravings are synced up. It is beautiful.
I’m constantly thinking about what my next food purchase will be. It’s like wondering what’s for dinner while you’re eating lunch. Do I go with traditional elementary school lunchbox treats? Will I be in the mood for something more savory? To account for this, I usually just pick out a variety of different flavors and textures. The Drawer is like Chopped if it were run by third graders.
Which reminds me—it’s time to replenish.