Essay, Humor

THE SHAMBLES IN THE DINING HALL

I regularly embarrass myself. When you’ve got as little self-awareness and as high self-confidence as me, that’s a given. But I really regularly embarrass myself.

Like the other day in the dining hall. I was sitting with my friend, and it was peak-dining hall hours. It was also a snow day, and because we don’t have a lot of TVs since we’re college students, everyone ends up eating.

I had asked my friend—let’s call her Shelby—to get me a drink when she was standing. I asked for iced tea.

She leaves. I probably perused Instagram or something of the similar ilk—as I was typing out “Instagram,” I got a notification about a new follower! Hint, @thedanosaurus, hint—or stalked cute boys on Facebook. Also, side note: cute boys, stop with the privacy settings. It’s really bumming me out.

Shelby comes back, carrying two glasses, one of water and one of iced tea. She sets the iced tea in front of me. Immediately, I sense in my psyche that something is not right in Whoville. The froth ratio is way off, and this liquid is a deep oak in color, instead of its usual burnished mahogany.

But I disregard this and take a sip. And immediately flip out.

“This is Brisk,” I tell Shelby. She looks at me, not understanding.

“Yes.”

“I asked for iced tea,” I hiss like a viper.

“That’s what I got you,” Shelby hisses back.

“No, you got me Brisk. If I had wanted Brisk, I would’ve asked for Brisk.” (I literally cannot use italics enough to adequately convey the amount of DRAMA I put into those words).

“You’re being crazy,” Shelby says.

“SUSAN, I ASKED FOR ICED TEA.” Susan is a throwback to Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, as the much put-upon mother of main character Morgan Stewart, aka my idol, aka my queen, aka my ass-spiration and aspiration.

Now, I know I sound crazy. But I swear I’m not. There is a clear distinction between Brisk (Brisk) and iced tea. Brisk comes from the soda fountain rack. Iced tea comes from the tall, brewed vats directly adjacent to the soda fountain rack. The one I use says “Unsweetened Tea” which is ironic because it is literally sweet tea. And that’s the tea I drink, just sweet enough to make your teeth ache but not sweet enough to make you look like you’re from the Appalachian backwoods—is that offensive—and it is delicious. Brisk is an abomination. Side note, I’ve been listening to a lot of Kanye West lately—it’s related, because he’s “the abomination of Obama’s nation” and also he’s good.

“You’re yelling right now,” Shelby reminds me. Thanks Shelby for the Amber Alert, but you’re the one who messed up.

“I don’t care! I’m divorcing you,” I shriek like a Fury—I’m reading Eumenides in my class, so I am all about the Furies right now—and start gesticulating wildly.

“I’m not the one who fucked up. I refuse to drink this,” and I gesticulate wildly at the glass. In my impassioned frenzy, I backhand the full glass of iced tea harder than Maria Sharapova in the 2006 US Open.

The entire contents of the glass gush onto the table and waterfall over the edge. Shelby cackles like Kris Jenner, as I dry-heave with embarrassment.

The carpet beneath us is soaked, and Shelby drops a single napkin over the mess before sitting back and watching me. I start wiping up the mess, fully aware that I was acting as psychopathic as a guest on Maury.

“I hope you’re know that you’re a crazy person,” Shelby says as she watches me mop up the liquid, the sodden mess of napkins growing exponentially. Once the Brisk—that accursed “beverage”—is gone, we sit in silence. I have ceased cry-laughing.

Side bar—was I dating myself with the Maury reference? Also side bar, since I’m so alone, I’m technically always dating myself. Solo high-five…because no one will touch me.

The rest of the lunch passes in a haze of murky embarrassment. Shelby spends the next few days reminding me of the “iced tea incident”—loudly and with great zeal—to all of our friends.

I should add that I was partially kidding about being so upset about the iced tea. I should also add that I was partially deadly serious about being so upset about the iced tea. I’m very particular, and I really don’t think that’s a bad thing. If I were Oprah, would anyone call me “psychotic” and “over-dramatic” for demanding a certain kind of iced tea? I didn’t think so, unseen audience member.

I didn’t think so.

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