Along with the technological revolution of the 21st century came groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs that will change the world forever. Business meetings that used to require multiple days and flights can now be completed at the push of a button; sports fans can watch literally any game on-demand, and social media has to power to literally topple oppressive regimes. But most importantly, the website Yelp was created, which now allows every asshole who owns a smartphone to post vaguely judgmental critiques of restaurants whose chefs labor tirelessly to retain customers. The American Dream is alive, folks, and this is it. However, the oppressive monopoly that is Vanderbilt Campus Dining has managed to avoid such scrutiny. Until now.
Bowls (Rand): The play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett is considered a quintessential work of the 20th century. Two vagabonds, Vladimir and Estragon, wait tirelessly for the arrival of the title character. In a cruel twist of fate, Godot never actually appears, leaving Vladimir and Estragon captive to their own indecision. This play demonstrates the blindly ritualistic nature of humanity, and challenges us to think about why we do the things that we do. This play is a perfect allegory for the Bowls line.
At one end, dining workers serve up nutritious, unique, and (admittedly) tasty concoctions. In order to receive one of these during the lunch rush, though, you must venture to the end of a line filled with dozens of self-proclaimed “hangry” white girls. Jammed up against the windows and completely out of sight of the actual serving station itself, time seems to slow to a crawl. With an endless queue of despair in front and the notorious Rand wall–filled to the brim with obnoxious student orgs–behind, the Bowls line sandwiches innocent students between the two worst evils our world has to offer. Faced with such dreadful options, one can’t help but question their very existence. Questions inevitably start racing through your head that have no answer: “Why didn’t I just go to the Randwich line?” “Why didn’t I talk to my friends first and then get in line once it died down?” “What the hell even is freekeh, anyway?” In fact, I’m not sure anyone has ever truly made it to the front of the Bowls line; even once you finally get yours, there’s always a new line to wait in tomorrow.
Pi and Leaf (Rand): Next, please.
The Pub at Overcup Oak: Where to begin? The Pub is a truly transcendental place for Vanderbilt students as they progress through their undergraduate experience. It’s where most of us gained 15 pounds during our freshman year, and it’s where most of us will come to pound 6 beers over our lunch break once we turn 21. Actually, that last part might just be a personal problem.
Anyway, the Pub offers a plethora of handheld options to choose from, most of which fall somewhere between “this is alright” and “this is ever so slightly better than alright, but not so much better than alright that I’ll go out of my way to come here.” Here’s the skinny: the southern chicken wrap is decent. The fries aren’t bad. The quesadillas aren’t anything to write home about. The Pub Burger is slightly below par. The chicken tenders are inoffensive. The…
Never has my life felt more like a dystopian nightmare than when I sit at a table in the pub, watching mindlessly as the order numbers slowly shuffle through the TV screen next to the service counter. I spend the rest of my day pondering life’s mysteries and being intellectually challenged in my classes, but when I’m at the Pub, the only thing that goes through my head is “well there’s number 329… Am I 329? No, I’m 331. Wait, there’s 334. Why isn’t my food up yet? Well 334 must’ve ordered something that’s faster to make. Hold on, that fucker got the exact same meal I ordered!!! Maybe it’s a mistake. Should I go up to the counter and ask? …Wait, what’s my number again?”
If you want to be lobotomized, I highly recommend you stop by the Pub at Overcup Oak next time you get the chance.