“Points?” scowled the hair-net lady, swiping my GWorld card through the register at a speed well above the sound barrier. Understandably, I could not respond in time to save my precious flex-points from oblivion.
“I wanted to use a meal!” I stated emphatically as she attempted to pass my card back to me.
“It’s too late now,” she cackled maniacally. “I’ve already swiped your card.”
“You didn’t even give me a chance to say what I wanted!” By this time I was annoyed and speaking with even more italics in my voice than usual.
“It doesn’t matter anyway, hon,” the netted one said, mocking concern in her voice. “Lunch hours are over.”
I sighed, accepted my fate and made one final inquiry, “When exactly are meal hours?”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” she cackled. “HA!”
The cafeteria system of THE George Washington University already has succeeded in totally and completely baffling this freshman. Allegedly, a GW meal plan (which we freshmen are required to have) contains meals, which are transcendental entities allowing a student to eat cafeteria without wasting points.
This is important, because unlike points, meals replenish weekly. A certain number of points, however, are assigned per semester and should be used on items more vital than food, such as Dr. Pepper. There also are alleged to be certain times during which an average student can use a meal.
These “meal hours” are important, because any unused meals at the end of a week descend into the fiery pits of Hades, taking a student’s money with them into the flames. Needless to say, this freshman really wants to use his meals.
By the end of my first week at GW, however, I became thoroughly convinced that meal hours do not exist! It seemed that no matter when I attacked the J Street slop lines, meal time was either over, hadn’t begun or I was attempting to purchase a “points only” meal. There are a lot of those.
In fact, only one “meal deal” is available on any given day. This blessed repast is chosen via the “whatever Ryan hates” method, of this I am convinced. It also annoys me the way J Street workers all seemed to do that maniacal laughter thing whenever I inquired about “meals.”
However, as a journalist, I knew I should thoroughly investigate this issue before taking a stance against the oozing, slime-scum bureaucracy of GW’s cafeteria. We (the press) have a duty to be impartial, even with greed-corrupted evil dictatorships.
However, I also realized that impartiality would require me to 1) possibly pick up the phone and call someone to set up an interview, 2) prepare questions for the cafeteria representative, and 3) actually get out of this oh-so-comfortable chair and walk to the Marvin Center.
So I talked to my friend Neil instead. I figured Neil would be thoroughly qualified with which to discuss this issue, seeing as how he is a breathing human being who has been to J Street at least twice. I was, however, surprised at the level of experience Neil had with the meal/points issue.
“I had a meal there once, man . ” He said, his voice trailing into reminiscence. “A real meal, I mean, no points involved.”
My curiosity piqued, I actually pulled a pen from my pocket and started doodling on my notepad. I drew a nice smiley face before leaning in for the big question – “Neil, how does one get a meal at J Street?”
He sighed deeply and then spoke, “Beats me, man. By the time I realized what had happened it was all over. Like a Bigfoot sighting or something . unreal.”
Buoyed by that insight, and the fact that I was really thirsty, I gave up my search for the truth, and had a Dr. Pepper. I pondered the cafeteria for quite some time (or at least as long as it took me to finish my Dr. Pepper, which by the way is a fabulous soft drink. If the wonderful Dr. Pepper people appreciate this blatant product endorsement from someone famous such as myself, they can send a nice note or check to Ryan Cordell, c/o The GW Hatchet).
Anyway, I pondered the issue of J Street meals and realized that I don’t understand the meal system and probably never will. I don’t think I’m supposed to; the powers-that-be need a way to keep us “common men” confused in order to stay in power. It’s just another example of “The Man” trying to keep us “down.”
I imagine that somewhere in the dusty archives of Gelman Library is a document that explains the meal plan. However, because I am too lazy to go investigate, I’m going to imagine that it goes something like this:
“If, between times of noon and 12:04, a student is at J Street, and (s)he knows exactly what (s)he wants, and (s)he can push everyone in line ahead of him/her out of his/her way, and (s)he was born in the seventh month of 1980, AND (s)he has a dead mouse in his/her left back pocket, AND (s)he’s offered the appropriate sacrifices to the grand hair net, then (s)he can get a real, bona fide meal taken from his/her lunch account. Good luck.”
I think the meal plan is a crock. I paid for “meals” and I should be able to use them whenever I gosh-darn please. Until that grand day, I suppose I’ll have to keep using more traditional methods. By the way they act, you’d think my neighbors had never seen farm animals offered up to pagan gods before.
-The writer is a freshman undecided on a major.