Lauren Lucy Caddell '23
There’s always something going on in the news, and the number of important topics to cover right now can be almost overwhelming. Vaccine mandates, Russia and Ukraine, the spiraling Virginia governorship. But most significant of all is the state of our lunches.
Almost nothing this year has been predictable, and the same goes for our lunch. It’s pretty well known by now – or I would hope it is – that we’re eating outside until further notice to avoid the rather terrifying notion of accidentally breathing on one another when we have our masks off. We went from eating indoors relatively normally at the start of the year to reinstating the tents when COVID-19 case numbers got bad. It’s a bad situation and probably somewhat uncomfortable, if not flat-out detrimental to our health, right? Wrong.
The tents are honestly the best thing that have happened all year. Have you ever heard Friedrich Nietzsche’s saying “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”? Of course, that’s assuming no one has died – or dies, future tense – from the aftereffects of eating outside. But outside of that, it’s obvious that the tents go a long way toward helping build character. We’ve practically been spoiled before when we were allowed to sit in heated buildings. Really, the only negative side of the whole situation is the constant monitoring. We went from being strictly limited to three people per table to being spaced one person for each six-foot-square bubble. It can be rather difficult to understand the teachers’ occasional shirking of lunch duty, because why would you rather eat inside a classroom than outside in the natural world? But one consequence of this is that recently some minor migration of the chairs has occurred in the tents, mysteriously into circular formations around whatever space heaters there might be.
Speaking of heaters, a shoutout is in order. Where would we be without those things? It doesn’t seem to matter that they blow gasoline straight into whatever lunch you managed to scrounge that day, as long as they provide some chance of keeping your hands from going numb. There’s no other explanation for the cult-like, definitely-not-covid-safe circles that have permanently formed around them.
Almost as importantly, where would we be without all the drama the tents provide? What The Exchanged should really be covering is whether or not the catastrophic collapse of the STA Little Field tent was actually a conspiracy theory concocted by the entire STA administration to…get some extra days off, or so it seems. Being able to teach all their lessons in empty classrooms really sounds like a dream come true. I guess they’re really happy about those million-dollar DTEN computers they bought last year. Sorry, that was a bit of an exaggeration. Turns out they’re only five thousand dollars each.
Anyway, it’s also possible that the schools are trying to train us to eat faster. You’d think they were doing enough of that already by cutting the NCS lunch period in half to make room for the Lower School, but the administration is demanding. There’s no easier way to get us to scarf down lunch than to put us in twenty-degree weather every day for a couple months. Hopefully by the end of this we’ll all be highly trained and prepared for possible recruitment into the TV show “Man vs. Wild”.