Underneath my yellow skin

I can’t eat any of the sandwiches

In reading my stories (advice columns), I came across a post on Ask A Manager from the owner of a company’s wife who was disappointed because the employees of the company said they wanted money as their Christmas present this year. The post is here and I heartily agree with SHOW ME THE MONEY especially in this year of all years. I highly doubt that all the employees loved the lavish parties thrown in the past, but more to the point, this year of all years, throwing a lavish party of any kind (on Zoom or in person) would be so out of touch with reality. In addition, the letter writer (LW) mentioned that the dinners were at The Palm which is a surf and turf restaurant, and that there were plenty of options so that ‘even those with dietary restrictions have plenty to eat’.

Well. As someone with many dietary restrictions, I took a look at the menu of The Palm (as did more than one person in the comments). Most of the starters if not all have dairy or gluten in them. The salads have dairy or one of my ever-expanding veggies-I-am-sensitive list in it. All the steaks have parsley butter on them. I could eat a few of the sides, but that’s it. And maybe they could cook it without the parsley butter, but that means another thing to worry about. Also, alcohol. So much alcohol. Of which I do not drink. I have a really hard time eating in restaurants these days and not just because of the pandemic.

She also said her initial idea was to send something to each employee like a Harry & David dinner box or a wine & cheese box, but it was shot down by the employees. I couldn’t eat either of those, either. In addition, she said there would be the usual speeches by the owners (on Zoom), which, I mean….

Bottom line was that it was all about her and how it made her feel rather than what the employees specifically wanted. They asked for money! Give them the damn money! The LW said it wasn’t ‘special’, which is such a privileged position to take. Then again, I’m biased. I’m very pro-money all the time because I’m really hard to buy for. REALLY hard.

Anyway. That’s not the point of my post; I just needed to vent my spleen. My point is that people in the comments pointed out that the LW could send cards with the money (fine) with a little gift if that made her feel better. One list included: chocolate or other ‘beloved’ food item (can’t eat regular chocolate); super-fancy cupcake (can’t eat); hot wine punch mix (don’t drink); hot cocoa mix with marshmallows (can’t drink); a mint mini Christmas tree (probably can’t eat);¬† and a personalized gingerbread slice (probably can’t eat). This person went on to say there were so many other possibilities, which made me laugh ruefully. None of their suggestions were workable for me and it was like that throughout the thread.

Most suggestions were for chocolate. Ugh. Some were booze. Double ugh. I was grateful for the person who asked for people to stop saying wine. Also common in these threads: candles, lotion, and soap. Can’t use any of those. Anything scented is a no-go. Bottom line. Money. Cold hard cash. It’s all I ever wanted. Also, in a different forum, someone noted that they were a grown-ass adult who could buy anything they wanted themselves.

The title of this post comes from another Ask A Manager post in which they were talking about making dietary accommodations. Someone was being really extreme about it and shooting down every suggestion and said, “Not everyone can eat sandwiches.” It’s come to mean an outlier situation that is used to shoot down every possible solution to a problem.

I’m the one who can never eat the sandwiches, damn it. Once while I was working for the county, I walked in during the holiday season to find a poinsettia on my desk. We had…four, I think, admin assistants in a relatively small space so there were four poinsettias on the floor. My throat immediately closed and I moved the poinsettia away from me as far as possible. I still had a hard time breathing. I went to my boss to ask her not to give me one the next year. I didn’t even say I wanted anything else; I just requested not to get the poinsettia. She looked at me blankly and said that was the rule–like she had no say in it.

Gee, thanks. I get to nearly suffocate because of some stupid policy? It was barely tolerable with it twenty feet away (on top of a filing cabinet as far away as possible) because of the three other poinsettias around me. I should have just thrown it away. I don’t know why I didn’t. Probably because I was young and didn’t know better. Anyway, that’s how I learned that I’m allergic to poinsettias. Good to know.

It’s really isolating to not be able to bond over this stuff. If I worked in an office, I would be the weird coworker. I would be the one who couldn’t eat anything, doesn’t drink, is allergic to everything under the sun, and I don’t watch TV or movies. I’m not married and I don’t have kids. I don’t want to be in a relationship, but I wouldn’t say no to a lot of hot sex. Well, not now with the pandemic going on, but in general.

It’s easy for me to slide into listing everything wrong with me because there’s nothing ‘right’ about me from the societal point of view. But, and I’ve said this before, I’m not enough of a freak to fit in there, either. The fact that I don’t drink or do drugs puts me on the outs with most creative circles. It’s not just that I don’t do either; it’s that I don’t want to be around people who do them. It’s boring as fuck at best and irritating/alarming at worst. You are not funny, witty, charming, interesting, brilliant when you’re drunk/stoned/tripping, whatever. You just aren’t.

One of the issues I have with everything becoming about the personal in the last decade or so is that my personal just doesn’t fit anywhere at all. It’s one reason¬† I’ve never been a big fan of groups. I’ve always had to hide a part of my personality at any given time. It’s not that I think we should all just be our whole authentic selves all the time, but I feel pretty fragmented whenever I’m in a group. In college, I used to belong to a few Asian groups, but any time I tried to bring up feminist issues, I was told that wasn’t the point of the group. It was the same with any feminist group I joined–racism wasn’t to be discussed. Or at least, not racial issues that Asians had. We’ve been ignored for a very long time.

There’s an emphasis on issues being intersectional now, but I still find it to be the proscribed intersections. For race, it’s black and white. For sexual identity, it’s gay and straight. Etc., etc., etc. I don’t fit any of the intersections so I might as well not even be on the road.

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