Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the lunch routine

I can't say that I have a lot of routines. Or maybe I do have routines, but they aren't conscious ones.

I am on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays (at least). This semester I have developed a Tuesday/Thursday lunch routine. I get lunch from the salad bar on these days. It
is the sort of salad bar where they weigh you food, and you pay based on how heavy your plate is. I get the smallest plate available, which is not a plate at all but a rectangular-shaped tray, the sort that french fries were served in my junior high school cafeteria. I load the tray in the following order:

spanish rice (approx 1 scoop)
black beans (approx 1 scoop)
pineapple chicken (3-4 pieces, which probably comes out to 2 oz.)
cooked plantains (2-3 broken broken pieces)
romaine lettuce with occasional slice of tomato (until the tray fits no more)
topped with about 2 Tbs of guacamole

(I would call the ordering of salad bar items atypical in that salad bars generally start with lettuce, then you add stuff on top. Secretly I wonder if this is all part of the plan to encourage customers to load up on the heavy (thus costly) items in a diet that runs opposite any sort of Volumetrics plan.)

I have my money out or easily accessible, and am ready to put my tray on the scale as soon as the person in front of me in line vacates their food from it. My lunch costs between $3.50 and $4.50, and as soon as I know this, I move my tray off of the scale so the next person can put their food there. (Secretly, I pride myself on being very efficient at this, and feel slightly superior to those who fumble for money and allow their plates to linger on the scale, holding up the rest of the line.) I move myself and my lunch over to a small table which holds a huge bin of plastic forks and another huge bin of spoons. The counter next to the table also has a small bin of pepper packets and a small bin for salt packets. I take one of each in my left hand, tear openings into them with my right, and try to sprinkle salt and pepper evenly across my food, which from the top, looks like romaine lettuce and guacamole. Grab a fork and wedge it into the food so it stays. And I'm on my way.

Routines are good for me because I'm not a particularly decisive person. Having this certainty of a non-decision reduces stress from my day. But I did not go out of my way to create this routine -- it just happened. Call me boring, but I wouldn't mind having a few more routines.