“What’s for lunch,” a coworker asked as the clock neared 11:30 (our standard time for lunch).

Dunno, what do you want?”

“Is Mark coming?” My friend walks deeper into the forest of cubes towards Mark’s desk.

“Yes—I want to go. Give me five minutes, and I’ll be ready.”

James walks up. “You guys going to lunch?”

“Yep. You want to come?”

“Where are you going?”

Silence. The three who have committed to going but don’t need five minutes stare at the list of restaurants and fast food joints in downtown Cincinnati.

“It’s raining again. We shouldn’t go too far. Or take the skywalk.” This, in an odd way, helps, as it cuts the list in half.

“Do you have any preferences?”

“Anywhere but the Red Fox.” While this sounds like a positive development, it only complicates matters. Everyone has a list of places they won’t go. Plus, everyone is not in the mood for something. Finding the intersection of these requirements often requires a commission from the United Nations.

Mark gets up. “We going?” It has been much longer than five minutes.


We gather the phones and coats and other things needed to venture away from the office, then walk to the elevator.

“Oh! I have to go to the restroom.” He goes off. We wait. He returns. We take the elevator to the lobby.

“So, where are we going?”

“I don’t know, but, unless they take credit cards, I’ll need money.” Since we haven’t decided, he errs on the side of caution, and walks to the ATM. We huddle in a sad group around the fountain in the lobby. There are two or three other groups who seem to be waiting for a stray member.

Once he gets back, we walk to the revolving door. “Where are we going again?”

I wish I could say this doesn’t happen every day.