16 May 2011

The Cafetorium

Ah, one of life's biggest mysteries. Teachers call it the cafeteria. Parents call it the cafeteria. Kids call it the cafeteria. The principal calls it the cafeteria. The lunch ladies call it the cafeteria. The Voice on the PA system calls it the cafeteria....

So then why did the little plaque on the push doors to the cafeteria that labeled it say cafetorium?

Oh wait! I'm remembering as I type...and here Webster's backed me up:

a large room, especially in a school, that functions both as a cafeteria and an auditorium."

Is that efficient, or what? Just smash the words together to illustrate their dual purpose. Perfect. It's the same as our dining room serving two purposes: it's our dining room, because it has a dining table in it, but it's also an office, because the laptop is sitting at one end of the table. So I guess, if we had a push door into that room, the plaque would say dining office. Or office room. Or dinoffice room.

Or maybe not.

Speaking of efficiency, I went to the grocery store after work yesterday, and as I was pushing my buggy down the drink aisle (as in pop, Lipton, and juice drinks, not beer, wine, and champagne in plastic bottles), I noticed a man making his way with his buggy towards the big, flap-covered doorway towards the back of the store.

Remember that doorway? It leads...where? And it has those big, black, rubber FLAPS as doors. They say the bathroom is back there, but who can be sure? It's the grocery store vortex, put there to scare young children and shoppers that really, really need to use the bathroom.

So anyway. Back to the business at hand. The man pushes his buggy real purposefully towards The Grocery Store Black Hole and sort of stalls out...moments later, a grocery store clerk bursts through the black, flappy door with three cases of bottled water stacked in his arms, up to his eyebrows. At which point the man goes: "Son, just put those right here in my buggy. They're goin' home with me."

The clerk looked a little surprised but piled 'em right in there next to the milk and tortilla chips. With a nod, the gentleman backed up his buggy and headed for greener pastures.

Please recycle your plastic water bottles, sir.

Thank you.

But all that is beside the point. Please take a look at this cutie!

"Hi, Mallory! Can I have some of your corn?"

When I see this picture of her sweet little smiling face, I can actually hear the echo of the cafeteria. I can hear trays clattering. I can hear lots of talking and hollering and clanking and noise. I can smell the square pieces of pizza laying next to kernel corn. I can taste the chocolate milk and smell the little round rolls, slightly burnt...

Dear Mallory,

Over the course of your school career, you will frequent the cafeterias of your schools no less than once a day - wait, that may not be true. I think I only walked in or through the cafeteria of the old high school your mama and I went to about six times, total. And that was just because of the baked potato bar. BAKED POTATO BAR!

The cafeteria will be the place you eat tray lunches, the place you eat sack lunches that your mother will lovingly pack for you, the place where you will purchase unhealthy snacks from the snack bar - like Cheese Swirls (or was it Twirls?) and ice cream and Funyuns - the place where you will have school concerts, the place where you will have school plays, the place where you will have holiday programs, the place where you'll occasionally listen to announcements, the place where you will take standardized tests, and - if your mother ever decides to work for the school system - the place where you will sit after school and wait for her, doing homework, eating snack machine snacks, talking to other "after-school-cafeteria-waiters," and laying your head down on the tables.

And then realizing that there was something sticky there.

And man...it's on your arm now....


  1. Glad to see Mallory is sticking with her orange/yellow/tan food groups.

  2. Awww, look at my beautiful niece!! :) That part about the baked potato bar cracked me up. I actually got a little container with green cheese in it once and then little old lunch lady rolled her eyes at me and just threw another container at me. LOL Like I was really going to eat that cheese since I knew it had come off the block with the green goo on it. Oh, BHS memories . . . :) (this is Aliceson, btw . . . previous comment by my other half. :P)

  3. Anonymous5/17/2011

    OMG!! I can't believe that baby is in school already!

  4. Y'all are gold star commenters. I'm sending them in the mail to you right now...the gold stars, that is.... =)