lunch ladies

When it comes to lunch ladies, i have many thoughts. Growing up, my concept of lunch ladies was that they were fully of the controlling and commandeering nature. Whistles were constantly being blown, "Heads down!" was persistently shouted, and the lights were flashed repeatedly to get our attention. We were not allowed to share food or sit by the boys and someone had to...absolutely had to wash the table at the end of the meal or there would be a price to pay. Recess was always on the line within threats and I will never forget the shrillness or the octave that was reached when we heard, "Be quiet NOW OR I WILL START HANDING OUT DETENTIONS!"

Now this may sound a bit dramatic, but I assure you, this is how the whole system went down. At the delicate age of seven, this really could be quite traumatic. However, I don't fully hold this monstrosity against these dear ladies. Given that they were handling over two hundred small children who were stuffing their faces with sloppy joes and peanut butter,while congruently throwing mac and cheese across the room, the fact that they yelled now and then seems to be a legit allowance and a sanctioned reason for their inhospitable nature.

This entire monologue is, however, inspired today as a result of my own clumsiness. I was sliding my tray under the drink machine at lunch, fully intending to quickly fill two glasses with water and one with chocolate milk, when my tray stuck on a wet patch and the entirety of the platter dumped itself onto the floor. Potato soup landed on my jeans and my shoe, and my tatertots - cordially referred to as potato gems by Cafe Naz (and they truly are) - scattered everywhere.

I was embarrassed for about three seconds, when suddenly, who else, but two lunch ladies appeared. (Yes we have them at college too...although here they are breakfast and dinner ladies as well.) They went to quick work mopping up the mess and replacing the tray, and I was ready to go in about a minute flat. They were kind and helpful and assured me that, "this situation happens on a daily basis, so please don't worry dear." I walked out of the cafe with an air of confidence, gripping my clean tray and hardly aware of the wiped-up soup blotch on my pant leg.

Needless to say, my entire outlook on lunch ladies has changed for the better. I no longer think of them with distaste or consider their job to be easy in any way. Truly, they belong right up there with Spiderman and Wolverine.