I asked my husband, who is also a teacher, what he had for lunch today. He told me he scarfed down a chicken sandwich and a diet soda from KFC, while in his car, driving from one school to another.
My lunch today consisted of a can of V-8, lots of hot sauce shaken in, and a hard, sour-dough pretzel, the kind that cracks a molar. Somehow, the meal satisfied. As my mother always says. "Cuando hay hambre, no hay mal pan." (When you're hungry, there is no bad bread.)
I only had about 10 minutes to eat. The kids were indoors for recess, and my school is WAY to big to walk ALL the way to the teacher's lounge. Besides, I avoid that space (bad vibes, mean people) unless, of course, someone has brought bagels or some other kind of goodies.
There's nothing like the occasional sunshine fund-sponsored breakfast or special event in the teacher's lounge. We don't admit it, but some of us make sure to stop in, as busy and frenzied as we are, to grab a bagel, a handful of cookies, or a bunch of grapes. (Teachers neatly place these on a small paper plate, covered with a napkin, to take back to their rooms... for their lunch.)
If it wasn't for these occasional treats, many of us would not eat at lunch time. I happen to know many of my colleagues are working through their lunch, there is so much we have to do. I see many of my coworkers gulping down cold coffee, or microwave oatmeal, or kid-size yogurts and juice-boxes, while they write lesson plans, correct papers, make phone calls to parents, and supervise their students for lunch detention.
My nutritious lunches are quite varied! They have been:
a handful of dried fruit, or
a fruit cup or snack-size applesauce, or
a cup of instant cinnamon-spice microwave oatmeal, or
a handful of pretzels, or
a stale Pop-Tart, or
a spoonful of peanut butter, or
V-8 (vegetable juice) with hot sauce, or
a small bag of Cheez-It crackers.
I've grown accustomed to these fancy little meals. However, every now and then, the lunch gods look down on me, and my husband hands me my red and black insulated lunch bag as I run out of the house. When I finally get to sit down at my paper-laden, disaster of a desk, I open the bag and find a clear container, holding the most beautiful salad - romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, cheese cubes and almonds. He has also packed a plastic fork, a napkin, and a can of iced green tea.
For ten minutes, I am human again.