Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Frat Boy: Saga Dining Hall - Part 5

We reconvened in the common room of PMA. It was here that we took the time to the let the “chefs” explain their dishes and we revealed the point totals that of course, proved once and forever the superiority of the senior class.

It wasn’t until a day or two later that we went back to Saga. The events of the weekend encouraged us to go out to eat and I think some of us wanted to avoid going back to the scene of the crime.

I remember walking over to Saga with Mary feeling worried and regretful. Yes, we had fun but it felt like we had taken advantage of this place that meant so much to us and had put unnecessary stress on the staff.

We walked in, saw a pretty good sized crowd already at our table, swiped in, smiled to the lady greeting us and got settled down for lunch.

At the table there was a lot of nervous talk about how much trouble we had gotten into and whether or not we needed to make a formal apology. As we discussed and speculated, Mary stood up. We immediately fell silent as Mary walked over and we watched nervously as she discussed what happened a couple days earlier with the lady who swiped us in.

None of us could hear the conversation but we could tell that both Mary and the lady were smiling. At some point she laughed and Mary joined her. Mary came back to our table, quietly sat down and explained that the staff had found our Saga Iron Chef hilarious. The manager (who we didn’t care about) was angry and annoyed at us but the staff who we knew and cared about loved seeing us have so much fun.

A huge wave a relief permeated across the table as we continued our lunch.

When you are in college in a group of people it’s easy to feel like you own a place, and we felt like we owned the Plex. It was our tables, our cafeteria, and it was part of our home. We didn’t think about the consequences of leaving a mess at our table, we didn’t consider when we loudly and openly complained about the food that people who made the food were in earshot and we didn’t always think about the workers who served us as people

Chances are if we asked the staff or the management to help us with our silly event they would have be happy to support us or even participate.

I’m glad that we had fun, but even more than that, I’m glad that this event reminded us that Saga wasn’t just about us and that our actions effected other people. This place that we loved so much, was special not only because of the people who ate there but also because the people who worked there. When I think about things that I miss from college, Saga is one of the first things that come to mind. There’s times at work, when I’m sitting at a table with some of my kids or other teachers that it approaches that same vibe, but its not the same.

 NUMB brought us together, PMA and SAI allowed us to become a family, but it was Saga that gave us that shared experience that connection to each other every day. The food wasn’t great at Saga, but at those tables, I had some of the most meaningful eating experiences of my life.

I love food, but more than my love of food, I value the experience of sharing a meal with people. I’ll never sit at that table with those people eating that food ever again.  And that's what made Saga so special.

Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge a meal by its food.

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