Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dinner Encounters

Unfortunately I have no penchant for cooking. My culinary gifts include heating to 345 degrees, inserting the pizza, and not much else. Left to my own devices, I would surely die of the scurvy in under a week. As such, I am outfitted this semester with a dining hall meal plan. Despite my advanced age, I sit my ass down in the cafeteria next to the Freshman and I enjoy the finest cuisines a minimum wage university staff can muster.

Freshman are very alacritous. I remember my first days in the campus dining facilities: I'd sit down and eat with anybody. It's easy to strike up a conversation when you don't know anybody (and when nobody knows you). The first month of school is like some bizarre twilight zone where it's socially acceptable to just start talking to any old person. It doesn't matter if they're ugly or boring or a Strasburg Method actor; they're your new friend. Then by the second or third month you've made real friends and acquaintances and there's no longer a need to bother with regular people.

So anyway, the other day I'm eating dinner alone at Paladium when this person walk right up and asks if he can join me. It took me just a minute to figure out what was going on. Did I know him? God I'm bad with faces. Um, no I don't think I know him, he's just this... person. This... and then it dawns on me. This... Freshman. And this is the first week, yes, and he's new to the city, right, and he's just looking to get to know me. OK, I say, pull up a chair. I then proceeded to have dinner with four Freshman. They were all very nice and, with the exception of the one from the city, very insecure. When I realized I was eating and talking with people who are my sister's age, it made me feel terribly old.

When the youngin first sat down, he asked if I was a first year too. I told him no, and he immediately came back with I knew it. He asked what year I was and I said Senior. Right, he said, that's just what he thought. I guess that means I'm giving off a craggly old man fucking aura. They were nice pups. So is my sister. She's going to do great at this.

And a happy first of September to you mister Wilkes Booth.