In the eternal battle of Sugar Vs. Salt I come down on the salty side every time. Give me chips, mixed nuts, crackers coated with mysterious “seasoning,” popcorn. Put salt on my dark chocolate. Make it so.
There are two historical exceptions to my preferences. The first is after a nap. I rarely nap, for various reasons, but when I do, I wake up craving sugar. This is probably because I am thirsty. I read somewhere that when you’re dehydrated, you crave sugar. Instead of a cookie, have a glass of water. OK.
Because I don’t have a problem overindulging in sugar, as in, I will not eat a whole box of cookies in one sitting, I don’t worry about the cookie. I just eat the cookie. And then I need some water (not milk, nope) to wash it down and lo and behold I feel better.
The other exception was during both of my pregnancies. More so the first, I think, although I’d have to search my own blog archives and not right now, thanks. I wanted sugar when pregnant, I thought, because I had given up alcohol and alcohol is made of sugar. Also, alcohol gives you a little buzz and so does sugar. Also pregnant people are prone to dehydration.
Everyone! Go drink some water right now!
I have a third exception now. The third exception is that at work, I want sugar. It can be a reward for boring work (one gummy bear after each successful file transfer!), a way to spike up the general energy level of the day, something for my tongue to work on while I’m data entering or waiting for my computer to reboot for the fourteenth time. Today when I discovered there was no chocolate in my desk I was appalled. I ate the sour gummies, but where I would once have had one sour gummy and then moved on, I found my left hand reaching for the package as my right hand moved the mouse around, like ‘oh just totally working here, not thinking about candy at all’, and then I ate a second, a third, then a fourth. I was..consuming candy like someone who had a PROBLEM with candy.
It doesn’t help that there is a 7-11 downstairs and around the corner from the office and you can get a little container of assorted used-to-be-penny-candy-now-costs-two-dollars for two dollars. Those marshmallow strawberries! Cola bottles! SOUR SOOTHERS.
You would think that the portion of my life being a stay-at-home-parent to small children who love candy would have been the portion of my life during which I had to suddenly discipline my candy intake but no. I have made it through several Halloween/Christmas/Valentine/Easter cycles without giving a good goddamn about all the candy in the house. It is the artificial environment of the modern office, combined with the proximity of the junk food, combined with the endorphin-less work I am doing (sometimes I find a file I’ve been looking for for a long time and I get a jolt of excitement that makes me mistrust my own integrity) that makes us all want something sweet. It’s not just me. I saw my co-worker’s drawer today and it was practically a corner store.
It doesn’t take long for the brain to associate the rush of sugar with a reward. About half a doughnut. We reward ourselves and each other with sugar all the time. Office people bring doughnuts to work and share them around. I’ve done it. We bake for each other. We share our chocolate. We never offer around celery. We’re all trying to say — to each other, to ourselves — ‘you’re doing great, considering the circumstances. For someone whose gifts are nearly totally unused 7.5 hours a day, you’re making do remarkably well. Because no one ever praises another human for making-do, accept this Twizzler as a token of my appreciation. Then you will feel a little jolt of happiness and you will like me, and this job, and making-do, that much more. It’s not that bad, you will say. Sometimes it even feels good. That’s not the making-do! That’s the Twizzler! You could do a job that made you feel good just by you having done it, and then you wouldn’t need the Twizzler. But this is not that job.’
That makes the workplace sound more depressing and hopeless than I intend. It really is a good place, for what it is. And for what it isn’t, there’s compensation. And with compensation I can buy more SOUR SOOTHERS.
Plus, the water is free.
(We should all drink more water)