College university student unions are a people watcher’s paradise. My self-diagnosed ADD is heightened to new levels when I’m there, especially during the 12-2 lunch hour. I go telling myself I’ll get some serious work done, which is just ludicrous. That’s like saying you’re going to a bar with a group of Brits and will stick to water. Not possible, I’ve tried. The student union is part feeding trough, part jungle, part future MTV reality show.
Getting a table takes detailed planning. As a senior, I’ve deductively nailed the perfect way to get a table. A few things to ask yourself:
– how many people in your party
– reason for your visit
– level of solitude desired
In my case, I was by myself, was open to running into friends and watching strangers and casually wanted to complete some classwork due next week.
With that, I arrived at about 11 am and easily found myself a 4-top for ample space to spread out winter jackets, backpack, purse, sunglasses case and Iphone. Theft? Not in my vocab. Yeah, I’m a table hogger; sorry I’m not sorry. Trust me, it’s a preemptive measure so it looks like I’m waiting for those friends who are never coming and don’t have to share my precious table.
Around 12:30, the rush hits. People walk down the asile, eyes rapidly darting left and right in hopes of finding a friend who already nailed a table; it’s all so Darwinian. During this time, I face an internal strugge. I try so hard to minimize eye contact with potential table sharers but I just….I just want to watch people struggle. UGH. #whitegirlproblems.
Mistake #1: NEVER Smile. Normally I would politely smile to people with whom I make eye contact, but this is every man for himself. A smile indicates I’m welcoming you to my table and that’s just so not happening.
Mistake #2: DON’T look up if someone is walking toward you, EVEN if you’re sure it’s the hottest person on campus and he (or she) wants to share a table with you.
I failed on an epic level. I momentarily lost my focus and glanced up to find myself locked in a stare with a short Indian or Middle Eastern man (can’t differentiate, so I’d like to be as PC as possible) wearing a flannel meant for a beefy lumberjack and walked like Charlie Chaplin but one shoe had a platform so he had a funky limp.
I SMILED?! Good god, I smiled…..he returned the gesture with something vaguely resembling a smile. Carrying his biochemical textbooks, he asked if he could share the table. I briefly lost consciousness when his breath came in contact with my delicate nostrils but somehow managed to nod. Thinking it couldn’t get much worse, the salad he bought was light on the lettuce, heavy on the thousand island dressing. Masticating like a cow and flecks of pickle on his chin, I looked for my headphones with haste only to discover I left them at home.
So I did what any kind natured person would do, I left. But not before I daintily ended our first date with “You’ve got some schmutz on your face.”