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Lunch for the First Time in Ten Years

Lunch is not on the menu for a mid-day talk radio show host.  I have sacrificed hundreds of lunches over the last 10 years.  Now before you judge me harshly, I need to let you know that I am not referring to the random sandwich. Of course, those can be eaten any time, except of course in the studio while on air. Nor am I whining about the fact that my stomach has grumbled and growled on air loudly enough to cause grief for those engineering the sound on my show. What I am talking about are the hundreds of “let’s go to lunch” invitations I have missed while being on the air and the one crazy one I tried to make last week.

The lunches I regret not being able to attend happen at noon, when everyone gets together to celebrate conveniently over the mid-day meal. I have missed colleagues sitting around talking shop, formal affairs at chamber of commerce-type events, and celebration lunches for birthdays and other life milestones.  When my stomach reminds me to eat as my show ends at 2 pm, I am never sure what I missed about not having lunch more – the delicious food, or the decadent chance to catch up with friends.  

It has been with dubious pleasure that I have received invitations to attend, speak at, and even to receive an award at events held at 12 or 1 pm, during my scheduled show.  When asked why I would not be attending an event where I was to receive recognition for my role as a talk radio show host, I replied, “I am on the air at that time.” And when she asked, “Can’t you be a little late?” I patted my empty stomach and laughed.  I had tried going early and late to events and had learned that when it comes to chatting with people and traffic there are no guarantees that you can get by quickly.  Radio is time-sensitive and waits for no host.  A good show host knows that when the show starts, you had better be in the studio in front of the microphone with your headphone on.

Until this week I was hardly ever tempted to attend an event.  Yet when I was invited to a Christmas party that started at 11:15 at a Chinese Restaurant near the studio, I was excited.  I figured if I arrived on time, networked rapidly, and ate just as fast I could drive to the studio and be there in time my show at 12:15.  

When I arrived at the holiday luncheon I could smell the tangy Asian scent of lunch (Oh how I have missed lunch!)  I was also happy to greet my holiday- clad colleagues who may have been surprised to see me at that time of day.  I had talked my way around the room by 11:30 and was ready to eat when we were invited to be seated.  I watched the clock rapidly tick on as company announcements were made.  Finally at 12:00 a hundred or so employees were invited to join the buffet line.  I looked at the masses of people and the one line and strategically wondered how I could get in the line ahead of everyone, eat, and leave for my show in 15 minutes.  My (awesome) colleague, Peter, must have noticed my assessing look for suddenly he shouted, “Let Kim go, she has a show!!”  My boss MaryLyn joined him, “Let Kim go first, she has a show!”  (How sweet is that?) The crowds parted and I stepped into line first.  First in a buffet line is quite an honor.  It was a dubious pleasure breaking into the finely-displayed food, but break I did.  I sat down to an empty table with a plate full and by the time my table mates were back, my plate was clean.  I chatted politely for 5 minutes until 12:15 and then excused myself to drive to my show.  I made the show in plenty of time and after the program when the engineer mentioned that he didn’t notice my usually loud stomach rumblings during the show, I said, “I went to a Christmas lunch before I came!”  I guess once every ten years or so a mid-day talk show host can have their lunch and eat it too! 

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