Boo-autiful Lunch Again

Lawrenda Avowlanou, Staff Writer

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What we are promised…

What we get…

Food, one of the best and enjoyable sources of energy, yet we seem to always be at odds with the government when it comes to this topic. Lunch might be the number one reason most students come to school, but then something is always wrong. Long lines and disputes only to get your food and see disappointment. The scenery before your eyes makes you lose hope and wonder if they really care about your meal. Four pieces of nuggets with a bun that looks like it was just bought from the store is not satisfying. With a  sad face and a hungry, growling belly you go back to class. Now you’re in class, and the teacher won’t stop going on and on about who knows what, you weren’t paying attention. The whole time the teacher is talking, you feel like sleeping beauty ‘cause all you can do and think about is sleep and wondering to yourself why you didn’t pack lunch or a snack.  You wake up early for school and actually pack a lunch this time. You get to the cafeteria, proud of your achievement, but the smile on your face disappears as you see a line that goes through generations at the microwave. Now you have two choices, to either eat the cold lunch that you packed or eat the stale chicken sandwich that has a rubbery taste to it and is being served for the second time in row.

You still have hope in your heart, so you go outside.  You think it is your lucky day; the vending machine is open and there’s only few people in front of you, acting like the squirrel from the movie Ice Age chasing after his nuts, but you ignore it ‘cause you’re hungry as a pregnant elephant. It’s finally your turn; you walk up to the machine like an actor accepting an award with a big smile. You put your money in, waiting for your chips, then out of the blue something horrific happens. No bloody snack!! To make matters worse, the machine swallowed your money with a gulp. With a grieving heart and a pout, you go back to the cafeteria to see the microwave is free. Just as you put your meal in, the bell rings. Lunch is over. Oh come on!!

The next day, you have finally given up on everything, but on the bright side you got to the lunchroom early. Of course, you did push through the crowd like an angry bull speeding. You’re waiting in line, then something interesting happens; a kid gets his meal taken away. But why? You lean over a little to eavesdrop and you hear the scary words,  “You don’t have any money in your account, therefore so you can’t eat.” You begin to get sweaty palms and butterflies in your belly awaiting your turn as you watch the poor, hungry boy go. You take one look at the lunch of the day and whisper to yourself.

“Again!! Another day of  chicken sandwich and frozen pizza with a ton of oil poured on it to make it look real,” said sophomore Anmoldeep Kaur.

The salad bar is just a shame and the fruits, exposed to germs with no plates to put them in. You take the sandwich, pay for it, and then right as you are looking for  ketchup which is like a scavenger hunt, something humiliating and sad happens; you hear a thump. You look down and see your sandwich on the floor. You’re a few seconds away from crying with the entire cafeteria eyes on you, and you whisper to yourself , “Well, there goes my lunch.” You try to leave the cafeteria as quickly as you can after cleaning up but then you get stopped like a criminal, but why? So like a deer caught in headlights, you turn and get asked the question, “Where are you going  and where’s your pass?”  So you think to yourself, it’s the library for crying out loud, shouldn’t you be encouraging me to learn and explore? This is not a prison, so why am I getting interrogated and can I have a lawyer present please.  After stuttering for a few minutes, you go back to sit. You’re finally fed up; you  keep staring at your phone waiting for the bell to ring. A ding sound can be heard from your right, and you turn and see the vending machine bright light taunting you and people getting snacks, so you wonder to yourself, “Am I jinxed. is this karma?”

Now, you’re thirsty, you ask to go get  water but you forced to go the fountain next to the cafeteria because you can’t leave without a pass. You taste the water and yuck!! it’s warm.  Going back  to your seat, you question, ” what is this madness?” You can’t go get milk ‘cause you have to buy lunch in order to get it and your money is running out. There are water bottles, but they aren’t free. What are we supposed to do if we are thirsty and knock on wood, what if someone urgently needed water due to fainting or choking, does he or she have to pay first? What in the barnacles!!!  

It’s another day in the cafeteria, you see the lady who took the poor boy’s meal last time. With a determined look on your face, you walk up to her and ask her if you can please ask her a question. she replies sure but not now, and you say ok. You come in the next day with tons of questions but don’t know if it’s appropriate. You ask anyway.

You ask Ms Tae Wean Park as politely has you can,“Do you like working here?”

She replies, “Yes I do. The students are polite and I get along with my coworkers easily.”

Filled with curiosity as to how one would like working here, especially standing on their feet for eight hours straight, you ask another question. “What are the difficulties of working here?”

“We have only four workers and approximately around 5,000 students in the school buying lunch; we not only have to be quick but professional.”

“One thing I think would help the hungry students of Broad Run is, instead of crowding around in the cafeteria, they should make a line. This would not only make the transition easy on  the workers but also it will also benefit the students. It doesn’t help when three or four people shout their orders at the same time and expect us to hear each and every one of them.”

You think about what she said and wonder if that’s what you do. With that thought in mind, you ask Ms Ping Wong what she wishes could be different.

“ I think the fruit bowl we had a while ago is better than the students having to scoop out fruits themselves. It makes our job harder and keeps the other kid from getting their food in time.”

Hmm, you say. You think about how long you wait in line behind someone simply because they are trying to get some fruit in their bowl only not to eat it.

You see another worker; the badge on the uniform worn says Kyung Sim Tim. You walk up to her and ask her what she has to say about the cafeteria.

“Many students don’t double check their I.D.s when they put them in, and, by the time I finish charging them and discover it’s an incorrect code, they’ve already left sometimes with a chip or soda,” she said.

“Another thing that I would like to say is that students need to stop sharing their student  I.D.s with their siblings and friends. It’s against the law and can lead to many problems . We know who you are.

But that’s a story for another day, I guess.