The New York Times Is Very Sorry Walking Down The Block To Get Lunch Is Hard For You
Bonkers New York Times Style section trend pieces are par for the course (just last spring, they did a piece on how males love to wear tank tops to Coachella, which was sort of like Andie in “The Devil Wears Prada” realizing five years too late that her cerulean sweater had been carefully chosen for her by the people in this very room Ahhhn-drea), and I usually like to abide by them all anyways, because I am very boring at best and trendy overalls scare me sans proper vetting. But their latest offering to the Gods of Basic, a breathy love letter about media millennials and how “crumbs at the keyboard” are the new power lunch, well, that I cannot abide by.
The piece started off strong, with descriptions of how Bryant Gumbel and other media folk are used to taking power lunches at Michael’s in Manhattan, and that lunch is the crux of deal-making, before veering sharply left into the fact that nowadays, people don’t take lunch because you’d miss out on Twitter (and other urgently pressing things I guess) otherwise. See, those crazy millennials, with their hoodies and their slang on fleek, would instead much rather eat at their desks, because time is a flat circle and god forbid you miss a Twitter canoe about the latest seating chart released by a media company. I guess before the days that the little blue egg was hatched, news must never have broken at lunchtime. How inconsiderate, news!
According to Lockhart Steele, the editorial director of Vox, and a man who started a popular website literally about where you should eat, “Just walking down the street to go to Pain Quotidien is considered a massive, impressive lunch move.” As a young professional in media, I assure you: no, it is not.
I don’t walk down the street to Le Pain Quotidien, though it is a mere three blocks from my office, because I am lazy and most likely two blog posts behind because I spent my morning subtweeting vaguely passive-aggressive things and now am desperately playing catchup. I am not at all impressed by people that eat lunch outside of the office, because they are clearly masters of things like staying focused, having a work-life balance, nourishing themselves: all the sorts of basic fundamentals you should have adopted unless you are truly a slug of a person. (I am a slug of a person.)
And how should those olds keep up in this rapidly changing landscape of what the hoodie-wearers want? Food trucks and job interviews that lack boundaries. One venture capitalist tells tales about how food trucks, not linen table-clothed restaurants are what lure millennials in to work with him. You know what you can’t get from a food truck, kids? A perfectly-cooked Argentine strip steak with chimichurri. (Or well, you can, but you will likely get food poisoning from it — like I did) Meanwhile, New York City publicist Brooke Hammerling talks about hiring an employee while she conducted the interview barefoot in her apartment, and how that employee decided to work for her because she too wanted that lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want to work for the bonkers lady who lets you work from home in pajamas? That’s basically working for yourself, but getting paid. That’s the American dream, not a trend, New York Times.
Nowhere was there a mention of the reason why we’re chained to our desks — the fact that we live in an economy where there’s zero work-life separation, and kids are basically bossing around other kids (and let’s be honest, kids are disgusting — we have barely grown out of eating crayons and shitting ourselves). Most of us aren’t skipping lunch because it’s the cool thing to do — we just haven’t climbed high enough up the ladder to realize that we have earned an hour away from the banalities of the latest reply-all e-mail chain. I worked as a Hollywood assistant for four years, so I know a thing or two about being chained to a desk, and I’ve never felt more stuck than when I came to work in the media and publishing industry. Seven-minute runs to grab a green smoothie gave me anxiety, because no one ever took a lunch or left the office. I didn’t eat lunch at my desk to be hip, I eat lunch at my desk to not get fired. [I feel like I should mention here that I am totally fine with Frisky staffers leaving for lunch, so long as they bring back something for me. — Amelia]
Crumbs on a keyboard are not a trend. Walk to Le Pain Quotidien. Maybe even eat at their absurdly large communal table. “Shawshank Redemption” yourself every day from 1:00 to 2:00. Just don’t call any of these things a trend. They’re just lunch.