We were all in a row, standing in front of the conveyor belt. Each of us was assigned to a particular category of food; when an item in our category came down the belt we’d grab it and put it in our box. Categories included Protein (canned meat, peanut butter), Meals (microwaveable containers of pasta), Soup, Juice, Canned Fruit, etc. It sounds easy enough until you are the one making the tough decision–is this odd-looking box a condiment or a baking need? It’s passed by me on the belt three times now so I guess no one else is claiming it…must it be in my category?
I had selected Baby Food and Coffee/Tea and there was precious little action for either of my boxes that morning. All the other people there knew each other and I was standing in between a guy and a girl who were joking and talking past me; I half-involved myself so as to be neither rudely aloof nor nosy. It was hot in there, and boring, even after the warehouse supervisor threw the fake mouse onto the belt.
Then a can of Campbell’s Chunky Soup came down the conveyor belt and the guy next to me, charged with boxing Meals, grasped it with uncertain hands and called out, “What do you do with soup that eats like a meal?” and I laughed for pretty much the rest of the day.