I was really sad.
I haven't been at the Koch Café (one of the two locations on my campus where I can get food from) much. And when I do, there is usually a long line there. Not because the place is overwhelmingly popular, but because when I want food, I am hungry, and when I am hungry, everybody else is also hungry.
How am I sad? I will tell you that my sadness does not come from the food; as a matter of fact, the food is not bad at all - that's one of the reasons why I get food there.
What made me sad was a phenomenon that I observed - a phenomenon that has been haunting certain places in Deerfield since the beginning of my times here.
Let's switch to another topic really fast: Friends.
I bet you have friends, but what is a friend? What makes a friend a friend? What power does a friendship have over other things? Everyone has a different grasp on this I can imagine.
However, consider this. What if a friend is a terminal to some behavior that is solely individualistic? What if a friendship, which is in no doubt something positive, can bring negativity to other individuals not of that particular friend group?
And before we consider this, let me define "friend group" in the context of which I just mentioned. Friend Groups are groups of individuals who, with a close relationship, have aligned values. Their values might not be positive (not to say that there is an absolute definition for positive qualities). And thus, the "positivity" in these groups might not be universally positive.
Now, going back, it is these friend groups that breed the weeds of society. They participate in behaviors that generate a false sense of positivity within their group while decreasing the overall positivity of others. They usually self-illude each other to eliminate the unrighteous nature of the actions they are completing - a very smart strategy that works.
Back to the lines at the Koch Café.
What would you do if you see a long line at a place where you want to get food at? You either
- Decide that the time waiting in line is not worth the food that you will get and leave
- Or decide that the food is worth the time and get in line (at the end of the line)
But do you really have to get in line, at the end?
You guessed it, you don't; and here is where the awesome friend groups come in. With a friend group, you can go somewhere that is not the end of the line; you can go anywhere in the line where you have established a friend group.
And... that's ok, isn't it? When is it not OK to save a spot for someone?
It of course is, but when it comes to a school community that is closer than ever, we will see it in a different color.
It either becomes an endless and vicious cycle where one "breach point" in the line can allow far more than two or three individuals in or a system that unseeingly destroys the purpose of a line.
The first type is quite straightforward: You do some chit-chat with my friend, and you naturally (absolutely not awkward because you just chatted with your friends) just get into the line.
Awesome, less queue to go through.
The second type is mostly for people who feel bad for cutting the line (or not; just don't want to look bad to other people), so what do they do?!
Can you use my card (we have credit on our student IDs) to buy me a ____? You can get yourself something too!
Ohh great, guess who's gonna loose in this bargain? No one! I mean I'm down to buy my friend something to eat, even without any benefits. Now that buying them something can even get me a place in the line, in what way am I not benefitting?
Benefitted, yes. For those after me, they must wait an additional order, another one, and another one!
The possibilities are endless: what is the purpose of getting in line if this is the case. The nature of a lines comes from the desire that you want to get food with a priority over those behind you and under those in front of you. However, when an intruder adds an order to any individual in the line (except for the last person) the balance of the queue is destroyed. Thus, the loss of the purpose of a line.
These, of course, are only two ways people can do this, there are numerous others.
These are the two ways that people at my school do this, in a line scenario. There are definitely many other ways. And, just to note, this behavior is not only present in the Café that I was talking about, but this also happens in the dining hall.
For the dining hall case it is something quite special: we have a tradition of first-waiting meals for individuals at a table. A part of the process of first waiting is to get the food from the kitchen, and this requires a queue - people can't just grab the food all at once.
With such a line, we see the same behavior, people with friends in front of the line can instantly cut to the front, while people who either do not know people in the front of the line very well or people who simply do not want to cut the line suffers. If their position in the line was #5 15 minutes before the waiting process begins, their position will change to at least #10 or later depending on the chances.
Maybe... this is the Way.
And such phenomenon that happen in life always have two aspects to reflect on: one is the shear malignant nature of events; one is how these events might be commonly present in the world that we live in - and cannot be changed.
Thus, what will ones do to confront such groups if they are not a part of it.
They might become the "monster" in the process, or they might act some other path. This is all too big of a social phenomenon to explore, and so maybe for a different day