Occupational hazard working with me is being asked the same question a couple of times a week at about 11.30 a.m.
The conversation normally goes like this.
Pand: Oh, Random Workmate
Random Workmate: Yes, Pand?
Pand: What am I having for lunch?
Random Workmate: I don't know?
Pand: I need you to give me suggestions.
Random Workmate: Well I don't know. What do you feel like?
Pand: I don't know. That's why I'm asking you.
Random Workmate: What about sushi?
Pand: Nah, sushi makes me poo like a rabbit.
Random Workmate: Nandos?
Pand: Having Nandos on Friday when I meet up with the engineers.
Random Workmate: Salad
Pand: Boring, and I'm having salad for dinner.
Random Workmate: Sandwich?
Pand: Nah - don't feel like bread today. Tell me what I'm having for lunch.
By this stage, Random Workmate is getting frustrated or has walked off in disgust.
It comes to pass that if I haven't brought my lunch in with me, which I normally do two or three times a week, or if I don't have something planned for lunch - such as going out and meeting a friend, and if I'm not completely under the hammer and I only have five minutes to run out and get something to, I will have this conversation with somebody.
It's normally the same conversation. It rarely varies. Sushi is the first or second thing suggested - always.
It's kind of like a repetetive motion that has no end - like a dog bringing you a slobbery ball to you to throw - you know it's going to come back quickly and you're going to have to throw the bloody thing again - unless you throw it far enough or the dog finds it's had enough.
The other suggestions that normally come up:
Nandos - a firm favourite, it's the lunch I have when I go out with my engineering friends on Fridays.
Salad: can be done if early, sometimes - the salad places around here get pretty manky after 1 p.m.
Sandwich: Depends if I'm feeling like bread.
Subway: Get's monotonous as it's my go to place when I'm in a hurry.
There are three stand-by lunches that I tend to go for when I have time - when I don't feel like I have to ask what is for lunch.
There's the Yen noodle place a few streets away. I'm know there. "Chicken, hot with flat rice noodles? Right?" Easy, and yummy, but not to be had when wearing a white shirt.
There's the Vietnamese Roll place across the road - which does amazing Vietnamese rolls - a fresh, white crusty roll, hot chicken (cos I don't do pork) with a little bit of butter, pate, pickled carrot, onion, cucumber, chilli and some special sauce. Amazing. The rolls aren't as good as the ones down Victoria Street, but they are not bad either.
There's also a favourite sandwich bar - where a smoked salmon and salad on multigrain is a favourite. Or chicken and salad.
The lunch I have when I have to run in and out the door is a Cajun Chicken and Mango Chutney toastie from the gastro-coffee shop next door. They are gorgeous, but only had when I'm stressed and there is only five minutes to go out and grab something before returning to my desk.
I was telling Jonella about this. She looked at me incredulously when I told her that I've been having the "What's for lunch?" converstation with various workmates for 20 years.
"You are kidding? You ask me what you're having for lunch at least once a week. And you diss every answer I give you."
"Yep, that's all part of the game."
"Well, why do you do it then?"
"Is that all?' she asked.
"Well, I can't remember the last time somebody cooked me a meal. This way it's like somebody is cooking me something - or is going to cook me something and I get to choose - and be pernickety."
"You're a wally, really, aren't you, retorted Jonella.
"Yep. Now tell me, what am I having for lunch?"