Posted by: katelyninfrance | September 30, 2010

The hardships of life at Oberlin

It is lunchtime. And as happens often during lunchtime, I am hungry. My friends are in agreement and we decide to head to the dining hall, affectionately known as Stevie. We walk down North Professor chatting about our days so far, cross over the street and find ourselves in front of the door. “Wait guys. What are we doing,” I say, panicked. They look at me strangely. “Uh, we’re going to lunch?” I shake my head slowly, wide-eyed, and back away. “But we’re at… THAT door!” The others furrow their brows before continuing on, telling me that they’re hungry and I can go back to French house if I don’t want to eat. With a frown I head inside.

This is a scene that happens to me everyday. Everyday I am forced to make a decision in a pressured and uncomfortable crisis situation. Said crisis is only augmented because we’re at THAT door. The door closest to the pizza.

I keep telling myself that I can stop. I don’t NEED to eat the pizza. I can just walk away. Get something at one of the other numerous counters. But I always, always end up back in front of the steaming pies, watching as other students pull slices with stretching melty cheese, gazing at the gently seasoned tomato sauce, drooling at the thought of crispy crusts and delicious toppings. And there I am, walking towards the plates, my inner voice screaming at me to turn around. I rationalize it. The other places have such long lines, it would be much easier to just get pizza! If I don’t eat pizza tonight, then it’s okay! Don’t worry, I’ll get a salad too. That’s good, right? I feel as if the pizza lady knows me by now. One time when gazing at the steaming platters just out of the oven with a friend, I let out an unconscious sigh of, “WHY IS THIS PIZZA SO GOOD ALL THE TIME?” I was met with a, “Oh honey, I don’t know! It just is!” from the hair-net wearing woman behind the counter. I then proceeded to sheepishly grab a slice and walk out of the dining hall.

There is a fairly linear constant process involving Katelyn and this absolutely magnificent pizza. Mathematically and/or scientifically speaking, one can make a type of visual representation or graph of this equation. (Okay guys just go with me here I am in no way a math or science major.)

Step One: The initial hunger
As biology has proven time and time again, humans are prone to a physiological state known as hunger. When entering said state, we are often inclined to eat. During this stage perhaps a slight idea of pizza will pass through my head. Perhaps not. Most of the time I just take out my cell phone and text Ryan with a “LUUUUUUUNCH?????”

Step Two: The gathering of fellow hungry-people
Depending on my friends’ schedules, various of us will eat together on any given day. The general routine is a trickling in of fellow famished French housers in the quad. We wait for the stragglers and eventually head out the back door. At this point I’m thinking about what I might want to indulge in for the following meal. Pizza pops in my mind but I push it away with a shake of my head.

Step Three: The journey to the food-getting place
Group in tow, we walk outside and pass by East, crossing the street until we find ourselves right in front of Stevie. This walk takes perhaps three minutes. And yet it is during these three minutes that the panic sets in. I realize that I want pizza. I tell myself that I will not get pizza. I continue wanting the pizza. I continue telling myself not to get the pizza. With every step closer to the ominous double doors the two voices in my head grow in volume and battle to be heard. I often turn to my friends and tell them that no, this time I will not be getting pizza, only to turn around again five seconds later with a “Okay maybe this one time.”

Step Four: The entry
This is the shortest step in that all we accomplish is walking inside and having the worker person swipe our IDs before walking up the stairs. In fact, this doesn’t really deserve a step at all. But I’m leaving it anyways.

Step Five: The mad rush for food/The faux-avoidance of pizza
Generally lunch is pretty crowded. And walking into a room filled with clambering college students laden with plates of food and talking at high volumes can be rather intimidating. I like to take this initial culture shock to glance at the other foods offered. Oh look at that! They have grilled cheese today! Wow, that looks like a really tasty soup! Don’t see that every day! And yet my eyes always tend to graze towards the back corner. The corner that not only never has a line, but also contains the pizza. Oh the pizza. Just right there. But no, I am interested in that vegetarian dish! This is Oberlin, we’re supposed to be open minded to things! Right!

Step Six: The frightened and anxious turn of the tides
It is now when I am standing still amidst a horde of students, plate-less, when I begin to realize what is happening. There is only so long that one can avoid what one is really thinking before it comes bursting out at them with the fury of a thousand sharp pointy knives. And burst it does! I find myself shaking, shivering, breaking out into a cold sweat. My heart races. With every beat I hear “Piz-za. Piz-za.” I find my feet moving by themselves, against my will. It is a straight line; I imagine I look oddly determined and sure of myself on the outside despite my insides being about to implode out of the sheer battle of wills. My heart beats faster. My steps go faster. “Piz-za. Piz-za. Piz-za. Piz-”

Step Seven: Face to face
As soon as I find myself in front of the wooden blocks supporting this heavenly sustaining substance, all hope is lost. The pizza is there, I am there, the plate is in my hand, the pizza is on the plate. There is nothing I can do. An earthquake couldn’t stop me from using the metal spatula to select the most succulent morsels and placing them delicately and lovingly on my plate.

Step Eight: Fleeing, eating, leaving
With the fruits of my shame in my arms, I run towards the drinks, getting a water as I always do. After fleeing the room I sit at the table with my friends, trying to avoid their accusatory stares. The rest is pretty self-explanatory involving mastication and eventually departing the location in which we were dining.

And there you have it. The horror that I unfortunately am forced to live through every day of my existence. Oh Oberlin, I thought you were a place of learning, of growing, of joy! Why have you done this to me? How… how could you? I guess I’ll just have to continue blindly forward in my heroic and diligent quest, standing up against all of the obstacles in my way, evolving into a better person through the difficulties.

Sincerely, Katelyn

P.S. I’m definitely not eating pizza tomorrow. Trust me on this.

P.P.S. No honestly I most likely will be.



  1. I demand an update! I love your writing and there isn’t anything to placate my craving for you new pieces!

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