Since coming to Brown, my food schedule has been set back a few hours—actually, so much so that I might as well be in a different time zone. Because my classes start at noon, on an early day, my 1:30 a.m. Jo’s or Gate run is not just a case of the late night munchies, but actually necessary to complete my three meals of the day. I am therefore a nightly visitor of one of Brown’s two fine nocturnal gastronomic institutions, and have had much time to sit back and observe the phenomenon that is after-hours college eating.
Although I am a Keeney-ite through and through, I have recently been frequenting the distant but arguably superior culinary experience known to some as the Gate, mostly because I am a pseudo-vegetarian and Jo’s is quite carnivore-centric (anyone who gets a chopped salad after midnight should reevaluate his/her life choices). The trek to Pembroke can seem less than worthwhile when I realize that I ordered a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza and I might as well have eaten a spicy with. Oh well. C’est la vie.
So, with a month of experience under my belt, I have attempted to compile a list of the varied and colorful folks one sees after midnight at the Gate or Jo’s (after the jump).
1. The people are “loving life” as much as you are, but are keeping to themselves.
These students are a special breed. With a quick chin nod or half smile, you have both acknowledged the common state—not sobriety—you are in, but do not see the need to converse. In the words of Helen in Bridesmaids, “I feel I can communicate with these kindred spirits with just a look.”
2. The admirable but ill-advised students attempting to do late-night work.
Their reasons for sitting alone at a usually sober-unfriendly eatery were varied: some were finishing up some reading and got a craving for a King Cone, some were depressed they were working alone in their room on a Thursday and decided to surround themselves with people having more fun than them and those who find working at the Gate or Jo’s productive (don’t know who those people are…). They are split into two warring factions: the harsh judgers who glare at you in line when you are taking too long to pay and mutter a snide comment to a friend about “trying to get work done” when you laugh a little too loudly and the encouraging smilers who urge on the special individuals who decide to sing along to “Roar” when it’s blasting.
3. The brave
sober souls who join the life lovers at their table because they realize reading Hegel at 1:45 isn’t the move.
I have encountered two of those lovely people in my first month at Brown. You see a student across the room. He is pretending to read but actually has been scanning the same sentence for ten minutes. He sees you singing “Roar.” He is intrigued. He sits down next to you. The rest is history. And that’s How I Met Your Mother.
4. The people you vaguely know but avert your eyes when you see them because you forgot their names.
The first few weeks of freshman year are jam-packed with learning and trying to remember names. You meet approximately 14,328 people per night and everyone’s name is either Julia or Josh. You might as well look away because you know he/she is doing the exact same thing.
5. The people you vaguely know but go out on a limb and say “hi” and then proceed to forget his/her name.
This is an awkward situation, and there’s really no way around it. You feel like you’ve met Joe Schmo way too many times not to say hi… but you really can’t decide if he’s the guy you saw peeing on a tree at 2:45 a.m. or if he’s the dude whose pregame you attended. When you realize you’ve forgotten his name, you decide to go for the “What’s up, *mumble*” approach. Works every time.
6. The sleeping drunk girl.
If it’s Wednesday-Saturday, you are guaranteed to spot one of these individuals. Traits include: sleeping face down on the table.
7. The group of guys trying to start a fight.
Why these people exist is still a mystery to me, but some guy is usually saying menacingly to another guy something along the lines of, “Enjoying your last supper?” because one of them cut the other on line at Whisko.
8. The people who are “loving life” as much as you and become your friends.
There are some who decide wordless communication is not enough, so instead, they shlep over to your table and introduce themselves. Before you know it, you’re exchanging numbers, playing Jewish geography and talking about your baggage.