Monday, September 01, 2008

Lunch Lady Land

Blogging away while wondering if I ever really knew how to play hopscotch, because surely it can't be as simple as what I think it is...

Well, I promised more uninhibited bachelor tales, so here you go. Parents, safeguard your children.

Last Wednesday, I had lunch at the local elementary school. When I told a fellow blogger about this, her reply was, "For work? Or to be among your real peers?" See what hilarious friends I have. Although honestly, I do think I fit in pretty well with the fourth grade crowd, other than the two foot differential in our heights.

Actually, I met Kywana and the godson and we had lunch with Kywana Jr. That's the real reason for my return to Lunch Lady Land. I must admit I was a bit nervous, with many of the same anxieties any kid would have their first day at a new school. What is the proper lunchroom line procedure? What if no one talks to me? What if I can't find a seat? Will I be able to pilfer two desserts?

The food was set up sort of buffet style, with two lines of kids, one down each side of the buffet. My first misstep occurred fairly quickly. Shortly after I had gotten into line, I heard Kywana Jr. calling to me from up ahead. "Bone! You're in the girls line."

Looking around, I had failed to notice that all the girls were going down the left side, while all the boys were going down the right side. Oops! Hoping not too many kids had seen my gaffe, I made my way over to the boys line as inconspicuously as a six-foot-tall fourth grader can.

Allow me to interject here. When did they start segregating the boys and the girls? It wasn't only in the lunch line. In the hall as we were waiting to go in, classes would walk by single-file with all the girls in the front then the boys. Shouldn't we be teaching harmony among all sexes? I have fond memories of "accidentally" running into Keisha Cantrell at the water fountain after school, hoping she'd smile at me or talk to me. That was the only thing getting me out of bed in the mornings for the majority of my fourth thru seventh grade years. I'm for desegregated, coed campuses. And dorms!

Getting back to Wednesday, first up on the lunch line were beverages. Juice, milk, or chocolate milk. What, no soft drinks? What an outrage. I chose chololate milk. It was like a half pint. Next up was a cooler of all kinds of ice cream--popsicles, push ups, ice cream cups, etc.

Figuring a little conversation would divert attention away from my girls' line faux pas, I exclaimed, "We get to have ice cream!?" The kid in front of me answered, "Yeah. You can get a slushy, too." He also told me to make sure I got an ice cream spoon, which turned out to be a flat, thin piece of wood. Yes! My first day and I'd already made a friend. Although I forgot to ask his name, and later on when we were eating I was looking around the lunchroom but didn't recognize him.

The buffet choices for the day were quesadillas or taco salad. I chose taco salad. With the ice cream and milk, I was quickly running out of room on my tiny plastic tray. I glanced around at some of the other kids to see where they were putting the food on their trays.

Then it was time to pay. Kywana had told me lunch was $2.75. So I was a little surprised when the lunch lady called out "$3.25." Apparently, the ice cream was an extra fifty cents. Glad I didn't get two.

The rest of my fears were eased when I found that Kywana Jr. had saved us all seats. The kids weren't allowed to talk that day because apparently they'd misbehaved or something. Although as guests, we were allowed to talk.

I found out later that they don't get to talk for the first ten minutes of lunch anyway. That seemed a bit excessive. Although I remember when I was in fourth grade, we had this big traffic light in the lunchroom. Kinda like in Mister Rogers' house, but not as fun. The light was supposedly a noice detector. If it was on green, we were being quiet. Yellow meant we were getting loud. And if it went to red, this really large teacher would stand up and yell "It's red!!!" and we couldn't talk for the rest of the day.

The whole traffic light thing was a bit confusing later in life, as you might imagine. I remember when I started driving and I ran thru a red light, Dad yelled, "Bone! What are you doing?" And I told him, "Shhh! It's red." None of this paragraph is true.

Anyway, back to my story. When I was done eating, I showed the kids how to make a little trash can out of an empty milk carton. Then lunchtime was over. We lined up, deposited our trays in the trash can, and exited the lunchroom single-file.

After that experience, as you might imagine, the rest of my weekend paled in comparison. But to quickly recap, Thursday night, I hung out with the Darryls. The highlight of the evening occurred as I noticed Wolfgang taking an abnormal interest in the outcome of the Oregon State/Stanford game.

Wolfgang: "If Oregon State covers, I win $155."
Me: "Wow. That's pretty good."
Wolfgang: "Yeah. Then I'll only owe the bookie thirty bucks."

Yeah, he has a bit of a problem. Unfortunately for him, Oregon State lost.

I took off work Friday--the Friday before the first Bama game. No it isn't a state holiday, yet. Then Saturday, my beloved Crimson Tide defeated Clemson 34-10! Some of the Bama faithful were understandably exhausted from lots of cheering. This picture was taken shortly after Bama's first touchdown:

OK, so 95% uninhibited bachelor tales. 5% cute nephew blog.

"We learned wondrous things from our teacher so nice. Sat on marshmallow desks with teddy bear smiles. The world seemed to all make sense. But that sense seems to slowly fade, after the third grade..."


  1. Sounds like you had a marvelous return to lunch lady land. just remember, you must stay on the blue line in the hallways at all times.

  2. Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer- Give 'em hell, Alabama!!


  3. Yes, it's that time again (I'm hoping that my daughter will still want me to visit occassionally at lunch--I normally bring her chicken nuggets and me a salad from Wendy's). After lunch, it's play time and I get to be the goalie on her soccer team (excpt the goal is a side of the building--making it a little much for a 50 year old to cover)

  4. The whole traffic light thing was a bit confusing later in life, as you might imagine. I remember when I started driving and I ran thru a red light, Dad yelled, "Bone! What are you doing?" And I told him, "Shhh! It's red." None of this paragraph is true.

    I was already laughing before I got to the last line of this... then I laughed harder.

    And some of us appreciate the 'phew stories and photos. It's nice to see things reciprocated. Kind of.

  5. wow! That lunch was cheap! I hope it tasted okay. I don't remember any kind of noise control when I was in school at lunch. I think that was mostly because the teachers had their own lounge to have their lunch in to get away from the kids. We were as loud as we wanted to be. hee hee
    And that's just sad that they segregate the boys from the girls...I wonder if that is self imposed or if the teachers really make them do that.
    but I found it very humorous that you followed the girls Bone! You big 4th grade flirt!

  6. re: Bacon. I make it in the microwave too, cuz it's less messy that way. I've tried baking it (saw the technique on a cooking show) but found I just like the microwave better. Course I have to put all the papertowels in a bag to keep the dog from dumpster diving!

  7. Java B - Ah yes, the thin blue line. All in all, that was definitely a fun little exercise in totalitarianism.

    Cami - Roll Tide!! How good was that game!

    Sage - Next time I think I will bring my lunch, although $2.75 is hard to beat. Aww man, we didn't get to stay for PE.

    Someone - Thanks. I'm glad you got a laugh out of that.

    I'm still fighting to not let this turn into an uncle blog, but I couldn't resist that picture. (Or any picture, really.)

    Renee - It really wasn't bad, though I was hoping they'd have pizza. Maybe I can get a lunchroom menu faxed to me each week? Actually, I don't have a fax machine, so I'll have to get them faxed to your place.

    Oh yes, cooking bacon in the microwave uses mucho paper towels. I do remember that much.

  8. Bama's back! Woo hoo! Though, I'm doing my best not to get too terribly excited lest Nick Saban come to my house and beat me for having too much confidence in the team. :)

    I wonder if, *perhaps*, Bama's newfound abilities have anything to do with the recent births of two new Bama devotees?? Ya think?

    I can't believe they still have those lights! They had those scary things when *I* was in grade school and that was . . . .wow. A little bit longer go than I would like to admit. You could barely whisper without that thing going from happy green to glaring yellow. Yikes!

  9. The thought of bringing your own lunch to school is a nice one, but unless you are going to make it yourself, you can't. There is no fast food allowed. Not even for the parents or guests. It's like a prison I tell ya! Ha!

  10. We had the light too. It stunk when we couldn't talk. Did you have assigned seating too? We did.

  11. cool visit to lunch lady land- not much has changed. thanks for stopping by my blog. The giant catepillar on my car window- the thing that made the trail was a frog. In the last photo on the end you can see his singular print and, the dork that I am was half way to work before I realized it. I was kinda terrified some gigantic worm would crawl out :)

  12. Avery - Well, that's what I was thinking. I mean, with someone that cute rooting for you for the very first time, how could you lose?

    Dude, did we go to the same school?! Seemed like it'd be yellow by the time I walked into the lunchroom. Then before I could try and trade my crap lunch with the kid who always had good lunch (packs of pepperoni slices), it was red.

    Mrs. R - What if I transfer my fast food into sandwich bags in the car?

    OK Chick - I don't remember assigned seating in the lunchroom. I think we had assigned seats in class sometimes.

    Daily Panic - Well, I was gonna say a snake with feathers, so it's a good thing I didn't guess :)

  13. "I glanced around at some of the other kids to see where they were putting the food on their trays"

    So where were they putting the food on their trays?

  14. Did you know that some schools are actually getting rid of the trays to conserve dishwasher water - in Georgia at least.

    So that makes me wonder, did you really get chocolate milk or recycled dishwater water? Ew...

    And I agree with 'someone'. I saw where that paragraph was going and thought the idea was brilliant!

  15. Strangely, I never hated school lunches! Got better in high school, though, when they offered Taco Bell and Round Table Pizza.

    Loooooove your abilities to put a false paragraph in your story. I think it offers your readers, us, the element of surprise! We never know when you're just flat out lying.

  16. Oh your nephew is so cute--and I guess it's never too early to start going to Bama games

    Until I was in my 30's I thought ravoli was the most vile food in the world--cos I only knew it canned--my father and sister or in school--I think canned. Imagine my surprise!!

    I just remember teachers wearing whistles and acting like idiots trying to keep the noise level down so your school sounds positively civilized

    And yes you have hilarious blogging friends

    Are you going to make a habbit of this? is it going to be like return of 90201--the Alabama elementary school version?