Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Frat Boy: Saga Dining Hall - Part 3

The Plex was set up with rows of long tables. Two rectangular tables would be combined on their short end to create one long table. You could comfortably sit sixteen people around these two table but we would inevitably fit more. By the busy point of lunch we would take over two rows of tables.

Most people didn’t eat breakfast in the cafeterias. If you did, it was a pretty quiet affair. People sat by themselves, and read a paper or caught up on some homework. Lunch and dinner was a completely different affair. People would start rolling in around 11 and by 12:30, we would have filled up our usual tables.

Sometimes the conversations were pretty chill, other times they were explosive. People would argue politics while others would rolled their eyes. Some people stormed off in anger while others would come to the table crying. I was asked out to a formal at the Plex, I gossiped with the best of them and I developed some of my closest friendship at our tables.

Like with any good meal and any family we had our traditions. Mikey would ask if anyone wanted to go get coffee, which was code to a group of us that we wanted to gossip about someone at the table. About once a week, we would choose someone to prank. Sometime it was taking away everything but the person’s tray so it would be a pain for them to clean up. Other times we would put all our dishes on one person’s tray to again, make it a pain for them to clean up. Then there were more creative pranks like the time Pete put a napkin in Chris’ sandwich. Chris was beyond angry when he bit in that sandwich and found it there. He stormed out of the Plex leaving his jacket and book bag behind.

We would sing “Happy Birthday” annoyingly loud when that day arrived for someone at the table, or didn’t. And one time we hijacked another groups singing of “Happy Birthday” by screaming a name of someone at our own table at the “happy birthday to ____” part of the song. The other group of people who were singing immediately stopped after we interjected and the entire dining hall fell silent. We all felt pretty bad about that one.

Maria would complain constantly about the lack of vegetarian choices and Henry would always eat platefuls of the main dish, no matter how disgusting it tasted. Jessica would create plates based on different color palettes as a challenge to break out of the monotony of yellow and light brown food that monopolize our food choices.

Mary would try to do the crossword puzzle every day, refusing to listen to anyone’s suggestions or ask for help and only figure out one or two clue. Max would lecture us on the superiority of his major, while Alex would argue with him, unbeknownst to Max, actually mocking him. Then there was Tracey who would always drink at least five glasses of diet coke.

I can’t forget to the mention practice of “Saga-thon.” People can be in and out of Saga pretty quickly, like 20 minutes. If you take your time, you should be there maximum 45. Instead of going back to do homework, or get on with the rest of our lives, people would often “Saga-thone.” This means that you get to Saga, eat with people who go their before you, and stay through another group of people coming and leaving, sometimes for hours. People at their worst could be at Saga for 2 maybe 3 hours.

The funny thing about being a “Saga-thon” was that it was a term people used to describe themselves. No one ever gave anyone a hard time for sticking around the cafeteria long after they should have logically left. This was because we all understood that sometimes we all need some time to get away from the grind by chilling with friends through the inevitable parade of people who would come and go throughout the afternoon.

All of this silliness, drama and fun, may have been loud at times, but we didn’t mind. We probably were pretty obnoxious to the other people eating there, but we didn’t seem to notice.

One time though we did go too far. It wasn’t when we combined tables into one “magnum table.” That only got us a stern talking too about fire code. It was Saga Iron Chen when we crossed a line.

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