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Nina In New York: Wanted: Mango Thief – Dead Or Alive.

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A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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A great wrong has been perpetrated against me. It isn’t the first time, but it is the last time I will stand by silently.

Someone has stolen my snack out of my office refrigerator. It was a container of mango, and I’d been waiting until just the right moment to break it out. You don’t want to jump the gun on an afternoon bite. Too early and you’ve peaked for the day. Too late and you might as well wait until you get home. I consider 3:30 to be the sweet spot, and I was primed for some tropical goodness. It was about to be the best thing about my Monday. To be honest, I was already in a funky mood. You do not want to make me hangry (hungry + angry). It’s the most vile emotion there is to be wreaked upon one’s coworkers.

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As I say, this has happened before. I am certain it happens on a daily basis in offices all over. But in the past, the missing items were all popular ones, and I have gotten over the losses by giving my peers the benefit of the doubt by assuming they had simply mistaken my frozen lasagna or Greek yogurt for their own. People tend to leave things in the fridge and then forget whether or not they ever got around to eating it (they did). But today’s theft seems unmistakably deliberate and cavalier. You know if you bring in pre-packaged, cut mango, and you certainly don’t leave it over a weekend. No, friends. The forensics are in. There is no excusing this. And I am flabbergasted.

Who steals food, really? My suspicion is that whoever is responsible for this infraction is genuinely emotionally disturbed. It is deeply anti-social behavior, and it speaks to the criminal’s utter lack of regard for anyone over his or her own immediate desires. I certainly do not care to be spending my days working with such a creep. I can only hope this was an interdepartmental offense.

Eating during the workday is a big deal for an office-worker. Options are limited, and many continuous hours are spent in front of a computer. As busy or engaged as I am, my meals are always a particular highlight for me. And it has taken years of discipline to get myself to the point where I resist the urge to mindlessly binge on junk just because it’s available and I’m stationary. I plan carefully—it’s almost like a hobby. And when someone throws a monkey wrench into that plan—a monkey wrench in the form of a maladjusted mango bandit, well, my day is simply ruined. It’s a pretty delicate balance, I admit.

Fellow office-dwellers, I know you know my hanger. Those who aren’t chained to desks, well, I can only ask that you don’t judge what you can’t understand. And for all the office fridge punks out there trolling for treats that aren’t yours, may your stolen snacks taste of nothing but your own bitter shame.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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