On his most perilous assignment yet, Bwog’s disarmingly handsome Staff Writer Henry Golub spent ten minutes in John Jay. He relates what he smelt, saw, and dealt.
(Disclaimer: This is all fake, and I like John Jay. I also don’t shove people.)
I’m skeptical of anyone who tells me to spend more than eight minutes on anything. So, you can imagine my surprise when I told myself to spend ten minutes in John Jay.
Now, you might be asking yourself why anyone would waste two minutes more than eight at a place that serves cottage cheese. You’d have a point.
But remember, dear reader: I am no journalist who fritters away his seconds. I am one who considers every tick of the clock, every rustle of the branch, and every crackle of the Rice Krispy an opportunity to transcend the competition—to go where other reporters will not and to experience the dangers they won’t. Rest assured that if I didn’t think I could write a story about John Jay worth your while, then by God, I wouldn’t have written it.
I went to John Jay the other day not because it was easy, but because it was hard.
I arrived at John Jay young, scrappy, and very hungry. I shoved aside some loiterers talking about Ferris and made my way to the food desk. I waited in line, scowling at everyone in sight and making hissing noises at Spec posters. I had a chip on my shoulder and iron-resolve in my heart.
I got to the front of the line.
“Hi,” I said to the lady working the food computer, “How’re ya doing?”
She scanned my ID. “Good.”
“Thanks,” I said, walking away. 54 seconds had passed…
Six, five, four, three, two…
I shoved aside more people and walked to where the conveyor belt enters the plate cave. I noticed my friends.
“Hey, Dashing Young Bwogger Henry,” they said, “Do you want to eat with us?”
They couldn’t have known how little time I had left. They stared wistfully at me as I went to get some food.
My friends receding into the distance, I felt the gaze of the world and the weight of a thousand hard-covered Odysseys upon me. I walked into the food room and stopped at the glorious sight—juice machines everywhere, two bulletproof soda dispensers, and thirty more people to purposefully bump into. I don’t like juice or soda, but heck if I wasn’t about to not say “excuse me” to every person in sight. Whenever someone does this to you in John Jay or Ferris, they are probably Creative Writing majors who write for blogs.
I got on line for vegan food as my timer hit five minutes.
I’m not a Creative Writing major, by the way.
The long line reminded me that I’m not vegan. I moved onto the line for chicken and settled in for the 30 second wait. I pondered life in the meantime:
Why do I have mild back pain at eighteen? Why do we put anything besides cheese into ravioli? Why don’t iPhones autocorrect “borthday” to “birthday” if they change “Ostruck” to “Ostrich?” Why am I complaining?
I got my food and went to get utensils.
I found a fork, but could not find a knife, so I decided to get another fork.
Time to eat. I pulled a chair up to my friends’ table and took my first bite. The chicken needed salt, so I asked my friend (names have been deleted to protect identities) to please pass the salt, but he said that we had none. I suddenly felt the clock ticking; a bead of sweat rolled down my forehead, and I took off my winter jacket.
“Oof,” I said, “I’ll ask another table for a shaker.”
I borrowed one and returned it. I looked at my timer: four minutes left.
Three minutes left.
Someone tried starting a conversation, but I could hardly talk while scarfing down food.
As I popped a final Brussel sprout into my mouth, I heard a shout from the other end of the room.
“Henry!” the voice called, “The time!”
I looked at my watch and nodded at the loyal fan. I grabbed my coat and dishes and bolted for the conveyor belt. People around the room cheered me on.
The magic carpet took my dishes to the tunnels beneath John Jay. I started leaving when, all of a sudden, someone threw their fork into the utensil bucket and dirty water splashed all over me. I ran outside. My timer hit ten minutes.
I had done it.
John Jay via Wikimedia Commons
RFK’s Older Brother via Wikimedia Commons
Stop, Drop, and Watch via Pixabay
Juice Lane via Columbia Dining
Enhanced™ Water™ via Henry Golub™
Salt Shakér via Wikimedia Commons