Lunch is no longer just a necessary meal. Sure, we all have nutritional requirements, but lunch isn't really about food. Not at all. It is far more significant than corporeal endurance. It's the only regularly scheduled meeting to which most of us truly look forward with delight. From the early days at school when you needed a security guard to protect your french fries (you may still), to college or university when you could take a break from studying, lunch was often an opportunity to relax and spend a little quality time with friends. You could discuss important topics or news or complain about situations or annoying people or you could just get silly and make people squirt milk out of their noses.
These days, just about everyone from the mailroom to the boardroom gets together with a friend or two for a bowl of soup or a gourmet sandwich or a burger or a salad at noon. There are, however, those who "brown bag it" and eat a meal at their desk and maybe catch a few games of solitaire. It might be a simple sandwich or a stinky frozen entree, but they eat it alone and miss the social aspect of the occasion. Others run out to fast food, takeout shops and grab a bite and eat it in their car (hopefully not when they are driving). Some people arrange to meet friends from other companies so they can meet up at a restaurant - but they may not be able to do that every day. There are those who watch the clock, because they only get 30 minutes and then there are those who get an hour. Some are punctual - some not so much.
Regardless of typological category, it is interesting how we are establishing a predisposition for people with similar tastes to gather in groups or cliques. For example, they may all be techy, talky, bubbly, chatty or friendly or they might be creative or brilliant or maybe just mad and introverted, but members of lunch groups tend to be individuals who share common values or opinions. Maybe they dislike monkeys or canaries or like Sci Fi movies and cartoons, but that gives them a springboard to launch into mutual tolerances or metaphysical evaluations. My core group all drive standard transmission automobiles, but we don't all enjoy the same food. The best place for us to go is the food court at the mall, because each person can get an individual serving of their favourite dish. It's almost like having one of those food synthesizers onboard Constitution-Class Starships (Star Trek), except the molecules are not replicated and the proteins are not resequenced.
Once all the diverse nourishing substances and fluids are procured, the discourse can begin, that is, unless we run out of time. The lineups at the food court can be so long we may have spent all our time just trying to get our orders in. Then we're eating in our cars or taking it back to eat at our desks. Maybe we should have made a simple sandwich or brought a stinky frozen entree. I guess we'll just have to be patient and wait for Starships for a proper lunch.