Note: this story actually happened, and is only slightly embellished here.
There is a local melon that seems to be popular among the locally-engaged staff (LES). It’s about the size of a grapefruit, but elongated like an egg, and is light green when ripe. Unlike most melons, the skin is thin and edible. Some LES can be seen at their desks at work eating it like an apple. They eat the fruit, then dump/pour/spit out the seeds from the middle of the melon into the trash can. It’s a little messy to eat it that way, but that doesn’t seem to stop the LES. I’ve seen several young female LES sit at their desks in their nice dresses and neat makeup, holding a half-eatenÂ huge melonÂ in one hand, and typing with their other hand. Every so often, they turn their heads to the side and down, and spitÂ seeds into the trash. It’s an indescribable sight.
Two LES, who I will call Alice and Chuck, sit next to each other in the open office. The other day, Alice and Chuck were deep in conversation. Alice was holding a melon in one hand, and the two of them were gesturing to the melon and having an animated discussion. Eventually, IÂ guessedÂ that they were talking about how toÂ divideÂ the melon. Apparently there was only one melon, andÂ they wanted to share it.
ChuckÂ made a gesture like splitting it in two with his thumbs. AliceÂ seemed to disagree. SheÂ waved her hand in the Chinese “no” gesture. The conversation continued. They proposed different methods to split the melon, but each time a suggestion was made by one, it was quickly vetoed by the other.
I sensed the tension begin to increase. The tone of the conversation seemed to become more urgent. Chuck’s tone of voice became stronger. Alice was more strident in her responses. Apparently, they were hungry, and the need to eat the melon was growing stronger. A solution could not be found, and the situation was getting serious. Could violence be far behind? I wondered. Perhaps a melon fight?
Finally, likeÂ Alexander the Great solving the problem of the Gordian Knot,Â Alice raised her free hand in the air like a drawn sword, and brought it down with a squishy thunk onto the melon. Melon guts splashed up slightly. It sounded bad, but in her hand, Alice now held two roughly chopped halves of melon.
Triumphantly, she handed a half to the astonished Chuck, who was so shocked at Alice’s decisiveÂ action that he didn’t know howÂ to react. Ignoring Chuck’s surprise, Alice took a big bite of her half, a self-satisfied smile on her face as she chewed with gusto.
Finally, Chuck found his voice. “You’re a man,” he accused. Alice shrugged and continued chewing.