Cubicle Cuisine

Dear Annabel Manners, 

 
Help! I have this co-worker (let’s call her “Jane”) who’s basically the weird girl in the office. She sits next to me and eats the nastiest foods at the strangest times! 
 
Chili at 9:30 in the morning. Yellow curry at 4 in the afternoon. Cabbage, of all disgusting things, just because. 
 
The thing is, I’m almost three months pregnant and very queasy. I seriously have to run to the bathroom everytime she eats. 
 
Help!
 
Prego — Glendale
 
P.S. I haven’t told anybody at work yet. 
Dear Prego,
Congratulations on the big news! Let’s see if we can’t come up with a way to quell that 9 to 5 nausea.
Have you considered taking Jane into your confidence? Sadly, if she’s the weird girl in the office, she probably doesn’t have many friends. I bet she’d jump at the chance to keep your secret (and ensure that you don’t have to smell anything but Saltines and 7-Up).
If that’s not an option, try sitting down with her in private and dropping something like this:
“I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately but my stomach has been really unpredictable. Strong smells seem to aggravate it further. I hate to inconvenience you, but would you mind cutting down on some of the, um, more fragrant foods you eat at your desk?”
If she’s microwaving these workplace delights, then presumably your office must have a kitchen. Maybe she could chow down in there. Or better yet, make an effort to eat when you’re in meetings.
Just approach her in a friendly way and let her know you’re happy to compromise in order to work this out. You’ll have it settled before you enter your second trimester!
Graciously yours,
ANNABEL MANNERS
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