Cafwalk

By: Christopher Wolf

I, for one, miss the CafWalk. Watching all the luscious girls and guys strut their stuff, admiring their careful selection of food (or snorting in disgust), enjoying the uncomfortable feelings of others a good stare could inspire. Or, I really just miss being able to safely navigate the cafeteria and return to my table without spilling my fucking food. Just a thought.
Perhaps a little background is required for all freshmen, since you never lived in the old system. Why, back in my freshman year (last year) we had to walk straight down a central path in the caf, and everyone could see us! Each table was “reserved” for one of the evil cliques at Dickinson, where they would be found at the same table everyday plotting foul deeds and staring at the passing masses. We also, for God’s sake, didn’t have enough tables to cause a fire hazard. However, with the influx of incoming freshman eating at the caf, something simply needed to be done.
The first point I’d like to make, and for anyone with any knowledge of how people react in a moment of panic this is rather self-evident, is that the sheer number of tables in the caf this year provide a worrying obstacle course. This doesn’t even account for the fact that it had to have been a toddler who decided on the layout. The slapdash arrangement of the tables promotes one thing: in the event of a fire, we all burn.
Consequently, there’s no longer three main ways to get to the food, there’s now a maze to be navigated through while balancing a salad, plate of fries, and that vegan dish of…something. Of benefit, though, is an observation a friend made about how the CafWalk suddenly came to us. Instead of being watched from feet away, that girl now stumbles her way past a table, flashing them in her effort to dodge bookbags, food, as well as the legs and arms flailing everywhere.
Most importantly, though, we are no longer being overtly judged. I mean, if there’s no central aisle for one to walk down, then nobody feels like they’re being watched. There’s just a thousand different routes to take that put you within arm’s reach of the guys and girls who-and I roll my eyes as I say this-are, however, still judging you. Sorry, that’s just the way life is. Apparently someone forgot that life is one big contest and one is constantly judged. What was the college selection process, if not a huge talent show? I can do this, I should win your prize because, pick me! Grow a pair and accept that when you wear a shirt that shows cleavage, everybody looks. And when that guy looks like shit, yup, he gets judged too. Deal with it. I see no value in pretending that the real world is any different. Though with our price tag, I suppose an alternate reality of some kind is to be expected…
Of minor note is this: there seems to be a belief among certain people that the new setup of the caf will inhibit the growth of cliques and force people to sit in different seats. I call this idiocy. People will always sit with their friends, and it’s simply our nature to sit in the same place every day. Sure, maybe Friday we sit at another table and get crazy, but for the most part the sports teams and sororities seem to sit at the same tables. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a choice. Throwing a few more tables in the mix and stirring doesn’t mean we’re suddenly all friends who can’t wait to hang out with the Jive Turkey’s. Walking in the caf now feels like a throwback to my middle school days, when we were thrown in assigned seating just so people wouldn’t sit with the same kids everyday. A stupid plan, to be sure, but one the administration never failed to enact whenever they felt like trying to make the students diversify. A point of interest: it never worked.

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