Trust the Gene Genie

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

School lunch

I visited Claire's school yesterday and had lunch with her in the cafeteria. I don't when you last ate lunch in a school cafeteria, but, let me fill you in on a little secret. At least at the elementary school level, they're still basically serving up nameless, formless and unnatural food concoctions in school cafeterias. We were served chili.

And to be fair, it wasn't as bad as you'd think lunchroom chili could be. But still, there's a deep chasm between edible and enjoyable. And obviously, I wasn't there for the food. I was there to see Claire, you know, before school visits embarass her and I become her geeky old man.

For the time being, I'm Elvis. Young Elvis, I'd like to think. But I'll get to that in a minute. It was fun sitting with Claire and her friends in the cafeteria watching them all interact and be kids. They're first-graders and Claire, three months past her sixth birthday is the youngest. It seems like all they did was laugh and tell incomprehensible knock-knock jokes and bounce around the lunch table. Claire, from time to time would just look up at me and smile. It was very endearing.

We had to wait for the aide to excuse us to go out to recess and Claire showed me how to bus my tray. Walking out, she excitedly showed me the shortcut to the bars (which was more of a longcut) and the whole time we had her little gaggle of friends in tow.

Once we were outside, I put on my sunglasses -- cheap mirrored shades that just barely function as sungalsses. I still haven't gotten over busting my Wayfarers. Anyway, we walked over to tetherball and Claire's friend Sophia looks at me and just starts calling me Elvis. Pretty soon, everyone's calling me Elvis. And they all think it's hysterical. Which it kind of is.

Anyway, we played on the bars, we played tetherball and we played on the swings. It was a lot of fun. And it's just amazing how much energy these kids have. They never stop moving, never stop talking never stop playing. It's incredible. It's also exhausting. Youth is indeed wasted on the young.

So, if you get the chance, I highly recommend sitting down and eating lunch with a first-grader. The food will suck, but it'll be invigorating.


stephanie said...

I just have one question - did you kick their butts on tetherball? Did Becky ever tell you that when we worked at the Crisis Shelter that I never let the kids win at games. Its just not in my competitive nature. Don't get me wrong, I had a 9 year old beat me at chess about 5 times.

ThomG said...

Be sure to tell me when Swiss steak day is, and we'll stop in. Mmmmm, Swiss steak.

Diana said...

Steph that hilarious. I can't believe no one told you to let the poor kids win.
I can just see Claire being so proud of her yound Elvis dad. And when did Elvis wear sunglasses? A small detail I know. I am totally onboard with calling you Elvis though.

Urpy said...

That was a fulfilling little read--one I need to print out and keep. I loved how you said every few minutes she'd just look up at you and smile. I know that look and I know that she only makes that look when she is very, very happy. Good job, Daddy. When she's an adult, she's going to look back on her childhood and tell lots of stories about how great her dad is.

Urpy said...

By the way, I LOVE the word "gaggle."

Scott's Blog said...

Great post Rob! I look forward to days like that. I just hope that my daughters are proud of their "old man".

Although I could maybe pull off the Fat Elvis thing, I still wouldn't be nearly as cool as you.

Anonymous said...

Nice read Rob. Everytime i've gone to my kids schools i've had a similar experience...they are so proud i'm there. need to ride that train while it lasts.

Anonymous said...

sorry, that anonymous post was me, Spence.

Anonymous said...

School lunch was great if your Mom sent you a lunch to eat. There were certain cafeteria days when I was in high school that looked forward to. It was when the cafeteria was closed. Those grey haired ladies in hairnets and moles on their noses with hair still show up in my nightmares.

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