Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You don't have to be crazy to work here but it doesn't help.

As I sit in my French class for one of the final FIVE French classes of the year (THANK YOU GOD) and we talk about whether a bottle is a bottle or it is just playing the role of a bottle my thoughts since then have turned towards insanity and along the same vein they have turned towards the cafeteria.

Carleton University is home to Canada's second best cafeteria or so is the word on the street. I think it also has Canada's best university basketball team but I have seen a lot more Cafeteria propaganda than Basketball. If I was one of the best uni basketball players in Canada I would be slightly disheartened if I told someone I was at Carleton and they asked me if that was the school with the nationally acclaimed cafeteria. Luckily the Basketball team said I was too talented to join so I have never had to be in this situation.

Anyway, as I was saying....Carleton's caff is allegedly among the best. The food itself has a reasonable variety to it, although after a while it all tastes a bit the same which is why I occasionally go off on a vegan binge because the vegan section is one of the few sections where they use seasoning. Either way, the food isn't the real reason to enjoy the cafeteria. It is the colourful nature of the workers there and as everyone knows "colourful" is another way of saying strange, odd etc. without sounding too rude...but really...there are some characters.

One of the things I will miss about Carleton will be laughing whimsically on a cold, dark spring afternoon with Jessica and Alyson... imagining what lives they must lead when they are not wheeling plates from station to station or having conversations with the air. It is really great that even when the rest of society has rejected them Carleton has accepted them with open arms.

A few that will be in my memory long after I have left this place (in 7 weeks and a day might I add!)

Monique, who left after term one but whose face of sadness and despair was topped by a santa hat during the festive season regardless of her clear lack of christmas cheer.
The girl whose name I can't remember,  who died her hair blonde and fooled us all temporarily into thinking she was a whole new person, but no she was the same disinterested card swiping drone.
Jean, who despite people's attempt not to make eye contact with her has never stopped trying to strike up a conversation or to begin a jig and damn the consequences.
OCD cup man, who regardless of social etiquette lords over you if you fail to put the cup in the correct place in the tray.
OCD meat man, who cuts meats so slowly and lovingly that when you finally get it it feels like it has been seasoned with love.
Pasta Man, who is abusive to other cafeteria workers and to students because he is an unspecialised cafeteria worker and we are mere plebeians who will never reach to his intellectual heights.

And last but not least...
Cathy who we have seen move from "Cathy in training" to simply "Cathy".  Despite the perilous challenges faced by cafeteria workers on a daily basis she has never let it crush her spirit and she became a fully established card swiper and hasn't looked back since.

I know that it will soon be time to bid adieu to this fair land, but I know that there are some things and people that are now a part of my very being and I will carry them with me no matter the distance between us..

"These fragments I have shored against my ruins"
 The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot


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