Diary of a Lunch Line-Cutter
October 8, 2021
Another day, another dozen students robbed of precious minutes at lunchtime. This time, the line extended all the way to the girl’s bathroom behind the cafeteria. As I walked down the staircase from the library, I saw the snake looming down below. “Tsk,” I thought to myself, “I was actually feeling nice today. Shame.” And so it began.
I hit the last couple of steps and immediately straightened my back and lowered my shoulders. I raised my head, and even though I had on a mask that could easily hide a smirk, I did not smile. I focused my energy on getting through the doors of the cafeteria and dodging any suspecting students. Under the loud murmurs of friends discussing the events of the first 4 periods of the day, I could barely hear my own breath. Walking through the doors, I faced a major challenge: the staff on duty. Between 11:50 AM and 1:10 PM, the staff acquire a special sense for people like me. I’ve only been caught by the woman on duty once, many weeks ago, when I was still an amateur. Luckily, I have one of those generic faces, perfect for blending in with the crowd, so it’s unlikely that she remembers me.
All I’ve been able to think about today is that tuna sandwich. There’s no denying that this venture is purely for selfish gain. I skipped breakfast this morning for a Tri-M Music Honors Society meeting, and my stomach was rumbling all through physics. I’m not sorry if cutting the line will let me taste my food faster, even if it’s only by a few minutes.
“Get to the back of the line, or you won’t get any lunch at all!” I hear just a few feet in front. I freeze for a moment, thinking I’m done for, but sigh in relief when I realize that line was directed to someone ahead of me. This is going to be a tough one, I can tell. It’s all to do with the timing…oh…she’s turned around…snapping at another student…I tread slowly, but with purpose, and glue myself to a huddle of people who’ve gathered by the vending machines…and she turns back around…and I made it! I swiftly go through to grab my sandwich, pay for it, then rush in the direction of the cafeteria’s back door and—
I turn around.
“I saw that,” the voice says.
And then I got a detention, a suspension, zeros on all my future tests, forced to withdraw all my college applications, and worse, my tuna sandwich taken from me.
Moral of the story: don’t cut the line.