As I approach the seemingly never endless line, my brain starts fade out. This is exactly what I was expecting. A pool of cloned swesties* and bros infested the area as though they were a multiplying bacteria reaching out to every crevice. My eyes darted around, trying to seem cool, nonchalant, as though your eye contact is unworthy to be met with mine. It was a defense mechanism against my own anxiety. I moved along with the crowd of mindless students just waiting to get swiped in. I start complaining to my ginger friend how much I’m not ready to be here right now. She didn’t care, it was 12 pm and she was hungry. I tried to calm myself down, thinking: “it’s fine there’s only two of us”.
Finally we reached the lady at the register. A white woman, with fluffed short ashy-red hair which peeped from underneath her black cap with the maroon UMass logo on it. She wore thin silver oval glasses, and had on a black apron over her white uniform. Her yellowing teeth suggested she is middle aged and it seemed as though she’s had many days involving multiple cups of coffee and stress-relieving cigarettes. She even wore plastic gloves as if she worked in the kitchen or was worried about handling our “dirty” UCards. But I know she really just sits here all day and babbles with the other employees, not paying attention to the incoming students. When we finally make it through, I feel a slight sense of relief, which quickly faded.
Roaming around I caught a glimpse of what they were serving us today, but what I really was nervous about were the seating arrangements. I had this odd fear of that Mean Girls situation of just aimlessly walking around with your tray full of food and just having no where to sit. And just looking like a dumbass in front of all your peers. Which in reality, they all are oblivious to everything and are too consumed with themselves than to care about a passerby like myself. Ugh, why does everything in our youth seem so magnified?
I looped around the dining hall, from the pizza end all the way through the booths behind the salad bar, no dice. People either seemed to be done with their meals, but getting up for seconds and thirds or there were deceivingly empty tables with just lanyards saving the seats. I then scanned the other side of the cafe and nothing. All the long tables were filled with groups of friends and even the extra dining room had no vacancy. How do people even have so many friends anyway? You couldn’t possibly like half the people you are sitting with. I just need to find a spot with two seats. That’s all I ask for! Shouldn’t it be easier to squeeze in a table for two?
After some major people traffic and aggravation still spilling over from last nights events, I was done. I couldn’t be there anymore. I’m sure I wasn’t even looking hard enough, but I couldn’t handle being around all of these people anymore. For some reason I just hated everyone a bit more than usual that day.
Finally I told my friend we’re leaving. I didn’t care about the stupid swipe, we have more than 200 left anyway. Although annoyed, she didn’t resist too much. We finally made our way out, passing a line of students eagerly awaiting to get in. I bet their stomachs were growling and they were in need of some of that blue power aid to replenish their electrolytes from drinking too much last night. I felt sorry for what they were about to encounter, a twenty minute wait for anything egg based and taxing for the next available table.
Ha, I was free suck on that. We decided to just go to Hampden Dining instead. Where a burrito is prepared to your liking in a matter of minutes and there is always enough seating because it’s that “alternative” place to go. Though it’s a smaller cafe, with limited amount of choices, I still enjoyed its atmosphere more. I loved the desert table, draped in its fancy black cloth. The fruit here was always fresher and its overall size makes the settings more intimate. For some reason I also feel less pressured here. I wouldn’t mind coming to sit here myself with a burrito and laptop. At Berk the huge crowd is too overwhelming in general, let alone to come sit by yourself. I was content with the change of location.
Moral of the story: Berk kinda sucks, I have bad social anxiety, sorry Danni for wasting your swipe, there really is no moral I just decided to write a stupid story about that one time in the college dining hall.
*Swestie: A term used to describe a typical female who lives in the South West residential area of UMass Amherst. Generally it relates to them being clones of one another for wearing their Uggs and North Faces during the day and by night tiny little party dresses with heels they can’t walk in for shit. They also tend to love getting absolutely hammered, yelling while they’re hammered, and sleeping around resulting in many walks of shame. Of course not everyone falls under this category, but there has been a significant amount of them throughout the years to make it stick.