Meal times are sacred to me.
The time I set aside to chow down on Noodles & Company mac and cheese accompanied by an episode of “Gossip Girl” is a time I would never sacrifice. Being voted Harbinger’s “Grossest Eater,” even the simplest act of eating in front of someone implies I have a lot of trust in them. I can’t consume a single taco without leaving Salty Iguana with salsa-splattered sleeves.
Point being, where I eat and who I eat with is important to me. And that’s how I know the Harbinger has impacted my life: it’s changed my lunch plans.
Freshman year was the typical indoor cafeteria experience (back in my day, the courtyard was still under construction). Like every other kid in there, I was still finding my nook of the school amidst the sea of Vera Bradley lunch boxes. At this point, the J-Room existed solely as a classroom to me.
Sophomore year was a turning point in deciding where in the school I would appease my midday hunger. As a section editor, I finally felt like I had “made it” enough to eat in the J-Room. However, I sat in my comfort zone on the corner couch — not actually participating in the upperclassmen chicken sandwich fan club or contributing any conversation worthy of making it on the quote boards.
Junior year, I left my couch-flower tendencies behind. As part of a tight-knit first lunch clan, we made group trips to the café (as Lizzie called it) to buy mozzarella sticks in bulk. We were crowding around a desktop while Reser and Harrison cycled through Beyoncé music videos or debating over photosynthesis with Kaleigh, Lucy and Lizzie. Peyton and Mac? They were the Pringle vendors.
This year, in true ~adult~ fashion, I’ve moved into the real world. I’ll often leave to grab Panera or Goodcents, or even just drive around, relishing in the long-awaited freedom, independence and novelty of being off-campus during the school day. Of course, when I’m not motoring around PV, I return back to my J-Room roots and pitch into to the lunchtime student journalism buzz.
Room 521 is home base. Where else could you find a place where the floors are eternally sticky, “Ooh Yeah” is our anthem, and the daily argument is whether or not to keep the window open?
So, to the J-Room and all the “kooky nuts” in it, thank you for making me feel like I have a place to eat endless chicken sandwiches piled with — what everyone else deems — too much ketchup.