You know you've finally settled into a place when mealtime comes around and, if you find yourself eating alone, you feel like something is missing from your life.
I'm such a different person today from the person I was 7-8 years ago. Back then I could only lunch alone 'cos I couldn't stand anyone crowding out my lunch hour, my sanctuary time away from the buzz of people's gossip, demands and to-do lists. I just had to get out of the office and run as far and as fast as I could away, and hope to goodness that I don't bump into anyone I might vaguely know on the way out. If so, at best there would be a small delay as we exchanged pleseantries, at worst I might end up with a lunch companion, in which case I would try to rush back and hide behind my PC and get back to busy work as soon as lunchbreak was over. There; I've just admitted to having some very deep-rooted anti-social issues, so yeah, I'm nuts. Sue me.
It was a very different feeling when I was walking towards the M2 leaving for a late lunch when I saw Anthony pulling into the parking lot with NBS and Amy in tow having just finished their's. It's the kind of feeling that forces the lower lip outwards to protrude beyond the upper. Not a particularly pleasant sensation. So the pendulum has swung the other way, to the complete opposite extreme, and that only goes to show that I'm still nuts.
Thank God it's only Monday's time table that puts me in isolation from the rest of the staff room. The rest of the week I can be a normal sociable individual and do the lunch thing with people, so it's not so bad.
What all this tells me is that I do have an emotional stake in my workplace now, something the drifter in me of many years ago never had. I have found a roost after all and like it or not, for better or for worse, NY has become a home to me. And, God help me, I don't want to leave.