The Spinach Incident


It’s lunchtime and I’m eating spinach – just spinach.  Ok, that’s an exaggeration.  I’m eating spinach with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.   Appetizing?  You must be salivating uncontrollably right now.

No, the SoCal skinny isn’t getting to me, it’s just what happened to be in the refrigerator.   When I moved from my luxury condo on the bay to a Best Western in Slumsville, I had leftover food, and I decided to bring it along with me, storing it in the office fridge, and to eat it during the week instead of going out to lunch.  Virtuous, and the right thing to do, right?  Good for my bank account and my expanding waistline, I thought, and true to form I carefully planned which meals I would eat out so as to have just enough food in the work fridge but not too much.  Then when I reached in today, excited for my scheduled and delicious salad, I realized I left my goat cheese behind in the luxury fridge.

I laughed a little, thinking that my place of employment – a port with men in coveralls and a sign velcroed to the bathroom door that you flip around to say occupied or vacant – is probably the kind of place that repels goat cheese.  I’m not sure how well goat cheese would fare in a place like this.  Probably about as well as me.

So what’s a girl to do?  I pulled the spinach out, dressed it with the oil and balsamic vinegar I brought, and began to eat.  Crunch, crunch, crunch.  Mmmmm…

After I went two full days asking anyone I could for something to do, I finally gave up on being the good intern and decided to alternate a previous menial project for another department (to my boss’ glee – he was thrilled not to have me nagging him anymore) with daydreaming and soul searching.  And because I’m bored and blogging at work, I’m convinced my pathetic excuse for a lunch means something.  I’ve decided this incident – the spinach incident, as I plan on referring to it – is a microcosm for my summer.

This internship was exactly what I needed.  It broke the marketing bubble I’ve been living in for the last 6 years, reminding me that most people don’t think like agency people, which means the clients I want to work for in the future won’t think like the people I’ve been working with for the last six years.   Being here has taught me how to communicate with them, and even how to understand how and why they think the way they do (and how valuable Excel can really be.)

It’s also taught me what I really value in a job – what I love, what I need, and what I can’t stand.  I used to think maybe I just fell into experiential marketing, and that I might be just as happy somewhere else where I could work in an office, have clients, or do a little writing.   Now I see how wrong that is.  I realize how much I want to do marketing – experiential especially – and how much I wish I was in a workplace that values what I have to give.  When in the city I found myself hanging around near the convention center, peeking in the windows, hoping to catch a contact high from someone running the show.   Today at the office we are hosting a number of guests for a series of meetings, and I keep secretly hoping something will go wrong and the admin won’t be able to fix it all and I’ll have to step in and make sure things work out the way they are supposed to.  I’ve been getting excited to return to school in the fall and to start work 6 months from now somewhere I love.  If I were still in Michigan, I may not have felt like that or felt it nearly as strong.  Also, this summer I visited a place I never had before, toured it somewhat extensively, and decided it’s not anywhere I have the particular desire to make my home.

I’m like Pop-eye, and fate, my Olive Oyl, is feeding me spinach to make me strong.  As I put each bite in my mouth, I know it’s good for me.   I haven’t eaten much that’s green lately (except avocados, which I suspect are a different nutrient group), and I can feel my body crying out for anything that isn’t a carbohydrate or sugar.   The last couple weeks I’ve been subsisting off pasta, fruit, yogurt, and granola, and though each of those is healthy on its own, a (wo)man cannot live on (granola and fruit) alone.   I’ve had the sense to order meat when I go out, and in the last week I think I’ve eaten more beef than I had in the previous three months.  (thank you to the great nation of Mexico for bringing Carne Asada with you when your crossed up the border).  So with that need filled, all that was left was the green stuff.  Really, plain raw spinach is exactly what is missing in my life and exactly what I need to eat to make my mind and body healthy and whole.

But boy, when you chomp into a mouthful of plain raw spinach dripping with vinegar, it’s pretty gross.

“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” – Chuck Palahniuk



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