Friday, August 10, 2007

The Balance of Personal Space

It was a crappy, hot Monday morning. After trudging all the way to work, I can't wait to get breakfast. I see people handing out free Balance bars in Times Square. I take one. Further up the block, I see more of these same people. Naturally, I do the cheap New Yorker thing and hide the first bar in my pocket, so I can get a second one.

"Great, now I don't have to buy breakfast. Not bad for a Monday," I say to myself.

I get to work, sit down and open my email. I grab a bar and rip it open. I take a bite and chew. It's like a dumbed down rice crispy bar, but it will have to do until lunch. "P" shows up. P, as I've learned, is not too keen on personal space. This is gonna get ugly.

"What are you eating?" asks P.
I'm annoyed at the interruption, but answer anyway. "A Balance Bar," I say, staring at my computer screen. "They are giving them out free in Times Square." This second part is designed to get him to run out the door to get his own. Not unlike throwing a stick for the dog to fetch.

Not satisfied with this answer, P comes behind my desk to examine the bar that is sitting on the desk next to my keyboard. He picks it up. As a rule, you should never touch another person's food. EVER. This is a major social faux pas. Especially when it belongs to a person who is cranky, hungry, and a little cheap.

This pisses me off, but what follows pushes me over the Monday morning threshold.
"Can I have a piece?" asks P, still holding my bar.

"You know, that's my breakfast, so... no. Sorry."
Insulted, and probably rejected, P drops my bar on the desk and walks away. Maybe he saw the second Balance bar that I had hidden behind my computer monitor when I saw him coming? Maybe he's not used to being turned down? Maybe he shouldn't have told me he was sick a few days ago?

Long story short: If I bought it, it belongs to me. If it was free, even more so.

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