As witnessed by the empty wrappers

Or is that how that idiom goes?

I love snacks. And I love working on a hard problem, solving it, and rewarding myself with a snack. Whether it’s just a single red vine, a small handful of M&Ms, or a perfect peach. If you watched me at an office, you may wonder how much productive work I actually do.

The answer is: a lot. If you put me in a space with the right amount of (read: tasty) snacks, comfortable lighting, and engaging problems (let’s throw in a touch of a facebook read and a twitter scan), then anything can happen. My focus when in the moment is deep and intense.

A lot of it, I admit, is due to the act of snacking. In my kitchen, due to my frugality and sense of “healthiness”, I don’t keep many snacks. I resort to the remainders, the unwanted snacks in the bowl above my microwave. They often are a random (old) assortment of Hershey’s kisses, fortune cookies leftover from my roommate’s Chinese takeout, one or two pieces of candy from my international travel. And now I have gone through that too. The empty wrappers next to my keyboard remind me of what I am missing. A hasty attempt to satisfy a craving for belonging.

As I sit here preparing for upcoming freelance projects and working on my book, my concentration keeps getting interrupting by a desire for snacks. And then I wonder, why don’t I just buy the snacks? Then I remember, I have occasionally. And it isn’t quite the snacks themselves are satisfying.

It’s the joy of walking to a cupboard, a refrigerator, and shelves to see it filled with snacks. A diversity. Serendipity. Things that I didn’t choose. I delight in the discovery of the new, and it’s doesn’t have the same novelty when I carefully select it from a grocery store. The novelty wears off as I check out, put it in my bag, and travel back to my place.

In the end, what I miss the most is the delight in a mysterious someone (thank you office managers all these years!) who has supplied the kitchen with snacks for me (and everyone else in the office). Now that I am alone working from home…is it asking for delivery? is it hiring someone to just stockpile my kitchen (which is already bursting at the seams with my random tea purchases)? Or is it just to get myself to an office and work from there?

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