Nemo may mean no classes, but it also means no Jo’s, Blue Room, limited (if any) Thayer, and the V-Dub closing at 2 p.m. (no one can take CFF away). There is no getting away from it; the Ratty is going to be terrifying tonight.
To be clear, I think the Ratty can be scary on a normal day at noon, and that’s with other options available. When it’s the only option available, like it was during our old friend Sandy or awkward last-day-before-break or first-night-back, it is nearly unbearable. Everyone gets so mean! And pushy! And there are SO MANY PEOPLE.
Tips on how to survive tonight:
1) Establish a home base. This is key. Get a table, make sure everyone in your party KNOWS where the table is, and use your excessive extra layers/scarves/layers/hats to mark your territory. You don’t want to be finding a table when you’re already carrying plates on a crowded night like tonight—spillage would be a tragedy waiting to happen. Also, I really hate the whole follow-around-whoever-you-came-with Ratty experience, but really, if you haven’t gotten your table YOU WILL LOSE EACH OTHER. It’s highly likely tonight will bring about many a table-sharing experience. This is very doable if you have the correct ratio of friends to randos – you DON’T want to be the pair tacked onto the end of an 8-person party, with no chair in between. (This is especially bad if you find yourself sitting at a sports team’s table. Repeat: Do not sit with a team).
2) Be civil but aggressive. Aristotle says that the key to being virtuous is having qualities that are a balance between two extremes. In a similar way, cutting a giant line in the Ratty is WRONG, but it is necessary to have your fight face on and stand your ground in certain situation. And if the line is a decent length and you are not going for the main dish everyone is waiting for, you can do some creative maneuvering. You don’t want bad karma but you also don’t want them to run out of [insert tonight’s coveted dish]! Also I’m not condoning the classic OH-HEY-how-are-you?-I’ll-just-wait-with-you-in-line move on an acquaintance, but if you did something really, really good today, like end poverty or save someone from a deathly ice-slip, I’d maybe allow it.
3) Innovation makes the meal. Use spinach/lettuce from the sandwich bar and go straight to vegetables at the salad bar to avoid lines. Try to anticipate the line lulls and have an easy-access appetizer like soup or cereal while you wait for the die-down. Get inventive in your concoctions because you just are not going to be able to get it all. Another rule: don’t plan a second trip up unless absolutely necessary.
4) Timing. Just kidding: there isn’t going to be a good time for dinner tonight. It’s going to be a madhouse until 9 p.m. Best of luck…