Losing Your Lunch Spot


Photo by PxHere

Becky Weber, Art Editor

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is quite as bad as having your lunch table taken.

The lunch room at Bingham is a crowded place. Even taking into account how many students leave and get lunch from home or a fast food place, the room still manages to overflow with students. They leak out to other areas of the school just to find a place to eat their lunch. Sitting in the hallways, their backs up against the walls. Out on the lawn outside or eating in their cars, heaters sometimes all the way up trying to stay warm.

Meanwhile, in the actual cafeteria, it can feel like a giant turf war – constantly fighting the urge to ensure that you have a spot at a lunch table, and trying to land a good spot in line (or at least what would be a good spot until half the student body cuts in line anyway). As soon as the bell rings, announcing the beginning of the lunch period, backpacks are instantly placed on top of tables, jackets splayed out to take up as much room as possible, using hats and gloves to show that the tables have already been claimed. Sometimes even going so far as to have one friend hang back and take up as much space as humanly possible. But with this kind of tug-of-war for the ability to have a table for you and your friends, some days you are bound to lose out.

Let me tell you right off, few things feel as awful as counting the number of spaces you managed to save, and realizing you’re one or two spots short. Even worse than that is leaving your equipment at a table, leaving to get something to eat, only to return and find all of your things on the ground or shoved to the side as an entire new group of students takes up the spaces you soundly had declared were yours. It’s like being evicted from your own house. I have personally had all of this and more happen  and have watched it happen to others.

Arie de Haan is one of the people who I have seen having to relocate his group after getting thrown off their usual table. I can’t help but to feel bad for them. The thing is, not all lunch tables are made equal. I usually sit on a lunch table that has seats. While this is nice because it guarantees you get personal space, it also severely limits how many people can sit at a table. Arie de Haans group used to sit at a bench table, where you could fit as many people on the table as you could wedge  between one another. When they got thrown off their table, their only option was a table with seat. The past weeks or so I have had to watch as they try to figure to figure out how to squeeze their rather large squad onto the table, including people simply standing, leaning against a wall, crouching in between seats… pretty much everything short of having some of them sit criss cross on top of the table. Patrick McHenry, one of the students that ended up standing, was willing to go with the flow, but did admit that it was a little frustrating.

The worst part is, as nice as the seated tables are, I do truly believe that we could fit everyone better if we had only bench tables. Because the feeling of being displaced from your claimed spot is, as Arie de Haan put it, ‘Upsetting.’ but even more than that, people just don’t like having to deal with change, especially when it comes to changing habits. Just ask any teacher that lets their students sit where they want, I’m sure they’ll tell you how students tend to sit in the same places, drift to where they’ve made the strange setting of school comfortable for themselves. That’s what lunch tables really become, a place where you can be comfortable at school. Having that taken away from you feels like a personal offense.