Small pleasures week #2: The joy of the lunch break

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For the first time in three months I am working full time. The job is only for four weeks but already it seems like an impossible mountain to climb. Every day getting up at 7.30, walking half an hour to work up a hill that seems to get steeper every day, staring at a computer screen for eight hours inputting meaningless numbers into meaningless spreadsheets before walking another half an hour home, cooking a depressingly basic meal and collapsing exhausted into a freezing cold bed by 9pm, too tired to sleep.

But this is supposed to be a post about small pleasures so I will get to the point. The one bright spot in my otherwise dreary day is the hour lunch break. A one hour retreat to the tiny table in the little known kitchen in the basement, so out of the way that I am almost never interrupted, to eat my lunch and read my book and listen to my iPod. I could follow the example of the security guard who occupies the basement kitchen from 12 til 1 everyday who uses the opportunity to kick off his shoes, don a sleeping mask and take a crafty hour nap, but I enjoy my lunch break routine too much.

For one thing I’ve never been able to get through books so quickly. Now that I can dedicate an hour to reading everyday without a nagging thought in the back of my head that I really should be putting the book down and going to sleep I’m racing through my to-be-read list. Two Ian McEwan’s ticked off in one week and more to follow.

I also have put together a wonderful menu of food to eat. Thanks to a unbelievably productive Sunday last week I have a freezer full of bean burritos, ready to be microwaved and enjoyed (loosely based on this recipe). I was a little sceptical when I was making them; they were remarkably easy and fun to make which based on past experience meant it was bound to go wrong sooner or later. But no, they are nothing but delicious. I may even get round to posting the recipe on here once I manage to take a satisfactory photo that adequately shows their cheesy deliciousness – in all the ones I’ve attempted so far they look more like a fat sausage roll of stodge.

And sure, I could do all of this at home. But it just wouldn’t be as good. I’d have that nagging guilt that I should be doing something more productive. I’d still do it, but it wouldn’t be as good.

Seven hours exhausting work is a high price to pay for one hour of happiness. I suppose that’s what the paycheque is supposed to make up for. But it’s actually the thought of the lunch break that gets me out of bed in the morning.

And again, thanks to A New Life Wandering for her great weekly event.

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