Five of the Week #17

As a student I don’t always have the possibility to have dinner at home. While searching for a good place with decent food I stumbled across a very good canteen. It’s a nice place where they offer good food for a fair price. Another good thing is that the range of meals on offer is quite wide (from traditional rice pudding to deer stew) so that choosing between three meals never gets boring. Lately, I’ve been there around 10 am, had a coffee and saw the breakfast they offer. It made my mouth water so this is the next thing I’m going to try. Eating there on a regular basis for three years now, I happened across all kinds of eaters. Here are five of them.

1. Eat and Leave
The first type of eaters enters the canteen, grabs a tray, cutlery and a glass of water. He orders, pays and walks to the empty table he aimed for since he entered the canteen. Sitting down he bolts the meal without losing any time with chewing. That’s what the water is for. He finishes his meal, wipes his mouth, downs the rest of his water and leaves. This type of eater spends not more than 10 minutes in the canteen.

2. The lone Eaters
You’ll find them sitting at a single table in the corner of the room. Some of them even stare absent-mindedly at their forks and it seems that they don’t make any progress at all. When you look at their plates now and in five minutes you can hardly see any difference. The lone eaters kind of hide in the corner although they always seem to hope that someone might sit down at their table and bear them company.

3. The (Over)Talkative
You’re hungry, you’re eating and suddenly someone approaches your table and asks if the seat’s taken. Polite as you are you tell him: “No, sit down. Enjoy your meal.” and then they start talking. In fact, your new canteen companion starts to babble without breathing which is pretty annoying after two or three minutes. And as you’re (in his opinion or perception) best buddies now he will tell you the most uninteresting things that have bothered him for a long long time.

4. The Messy/Clean One
Both types of eaters are rare as most of the people are somewhere in between the two extremes. Nevertheless, they shall be mentioned here.
The clean one organizes his plate as much as possible (peas on the left, meat on the right etc.) and even his tray is wonderfully arranged. The plate can be found in the middle of the tray, the drink on the right and the dessert on the left side. Of course the clean one eates with pleasure and watching him cut his meat always reminds one of a surgical precision. When he’s finished the plate looks like it’s never been used and one won’t find the slightest piece of meal where the clean one just ate.
The messy is quite the contrary. His tray looks like a village after a bomb attack and so it might be that the dessert already becomes part of the main course. When he eats he gobbles more than anything else. If you are lucky enough the messy even smacks and slurps. When he leaves you can tell what he ate by looking under his chair.

5. The Blatant Beast
This is nothing against old people but it’s mostly them who bitch about other people. I witnessed an old lady talking to a friend of hers about one of the canteen employees. The employee was a bit chubby and the lady said something like: “Look, she walks like a bear.” or “I don’t think she’ll be able to work here without her mommy.” (who worked in the canteen as well). Anyways, the lady went on like this for I don’t know how long but it became pretty annoying.


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