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School Lunches

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El almuerzo de escuela. The Lunch of School. I only learned how to say it in Spanish because the class was right before lunch, EVERY TIME. If there is one word to describe school lunch, from kindergarten to the eighth grade, it’s DISGUSTING. From meatballs that look like dung balls to ‘pizza sticks’ that have cheese so rubbery that it sticks in your throat, all kids agree on one thing; bring your lunch from home if you value your life. But contrary to popular belief, that is not the main part of the lunch. The biggest thing that everyone thinks when walking into the lunchroom is ‘where am I going to sit?’

It doesn’t sound like a big deal when you say it, ‘where am I going to sit,’ but the doom and gloom that hang over that question play an orchestra of minor keys in your head. It MATTERS where you sit.

There’s always the ‘outcasts’, the ‘loners’. It’s basically the group of people who ask that question, ‘where am I going to sit,’ and they have no answer. They sit by themselves, and eventually find the other people that answer the question in the same way. The band together, it’s a law of nature. Outcasts attract, I guess. If you sit here, they welcome you with open arms, and ask if you like pokemon cards, or cats.

Then there’s the ‘Quiet’ people group. They are… quiet, simply put. They ALWAYS bring their lunches from home, usually in a solid color lunchbox (the neutral colors preferred), and just eat. Hardly any talking, they chew, smile, and swallow. They have great lives. Straight A’s, their parents love them, their teachers love them, and the only one that hates them is everyone else. It’s ‘good’ to be in the ‘quiet’ group. If you sit with the mice of the lunchroom, they will most likely chew, smile, swallow, and then look away. Party.

Then of course there is the ‘Loud’ group. They are basically the opposite of the quiet people. Loud, rambunctious, annoying- any of these words applies to them. They get the school lunches, even though their gross. They chew with their mouth open, laugh with food in their mouth, snort milk out their nose, and basically, give the lunchroom its loud never-ending chatter that it’s so famous for-AKA, food fights. Some call it the ‘fun’ group, but the truth is, there are people that hate the ‘Louds’ too. If you find yourself sitting in the midst of this crowd, look out for flying peas, and try to have fun. Remember, outside voices only.

The people that hate the ‘Louds’ are the ‘Elites’. They scoff at the Louds and their crazy ways. Their lunches are always brought from home, mostly consisting of salads with expensive dressing on top. They are proper and trimmed head to toe, never a hair out of place, and never a bite too big. They could be models, and they know it. They laugh perfectly, white teeth shining in the dim lights of the cafeteria. Everyone thinks they have more fun than everyone in the room, of course. They shine like stars, always in the center of attention. They’re lunch boxes are always the ‘best that money can buy’ and they don’t even call them lunch boxes. They are ‘lunch bags’. Everyone wants to sit there, everybody wants to be them, everyone has to know them, and everyone hates them, which they know, and don’t care. If at the outcasts table there is no room, and the quiets bore you to tears, and the last time you sat at the Louds you were covered in mashed potatoes, then proceed with caution. If you find yourself sitting next to a 5 foot 7 girl with blonde hair down to her waist, laughing that perfect smile, you may want to rethink where you’re sitting. They stare at you with perfectly painted faces, looks of disgust curving their perfect mouths. They won’t say anything, but nothing needs to be said. You have been scarred and everyone in the lunchroom knows it too. And now the only people you will be able to sit with are the outcasts.

Well guess what the truth of the matter is? The Elite’s do not have fun. Yes, they smile their perfect smiles, and laugh their contagious laughs, but it’s empty. They want you to know they are the Elite’s and they want you to fear them. Really they are just an empty shell, like the ‘pizza rolls’ of the lunchroom. They are all crusty on the outside, but hardly any sauce on the inside. They are shallower than showers.
Who has the most fun? Well, I don’t know about the Quiets. Maybe they are having fun in their own quiet world, but the Louds and the Outcasts have fun because they’re being themselves. They are being real, so they don’t have to put on a show for anybody. They have real friends, and they’re not just friends because they are all gorgeous, or they are all rich; they are friends because they like each other, for who they really are. So take a stab at who’s really having fun, like you would stab the hunk of meat on your plate so appropriately named ‘mystery meat’. Take a guess at who is really going to get the last laugh, like you would guess what is really in the soup those lunch ladies are serving you. Next time you ask yourself, ‘where am I going to sit’, don’t make your choice too carefully, because there is a simple answer. Who cares?



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