the gloves slap onto the bench and a few steps later the hairnet comes off, i lose the blue coat and rip the shoe covers from my feet, i re-enter the world and lunch has begun.
i slice cheese onto my sourdough and shut the sandwich press, rummage for the choice bits of the weekend papers or some interesting junk mail.
a slight sizzle reminds me of my lunch, i slap it onto a plate and sit. ripping the bread into pieces allows the cheese to ooze out and i dangle strings into my mouth. inevitably somebody will make a smart remark. on a good day i will have a rapid and witty response, other days i will grin like a mad thing.
i will try to read but conversation will draw me in and i will scan the words with unseeing eyes.
if it's tuesday the man who has sold me sweets for the last seven years, who i talk to more often than some of my friends but who is known to me only as "the lolly man" will blow his novelty horn and i wander out to see what discounted chocolates he can tempt me with. for maybe the first time in six hours i will see natural light and reacquaint myself with the weather.
my return to the lunch room sees me make a coffee and gobble one of my newly acquired delicacies. again, somebody will laugh good naturedly at my predictability.
suddenly, the half hour is over. i rush to gulp my drink, to throw out my wrapper, to put the dishes in the dishwasher and wrap up any incomplete conversation.
i slip in the automatic doors in the nick of time. hat first, coat, shoes, peek through the window as if i have forgotten what my work space looks like. i push open the airlock door. another lunch over.