Based on a true story that happened last weekend.
We’re on vacation and it’s lunch time.
We’ve all had a hard morning. After sleeping in and enjoying a leisurely breakfast, some students ventured to the beach, where they were subjected to a blazing sun and gorgeous views of the red sea. Unfortunately, their fragile psyches were scarred by the unreasonably high ratio of body mass to swimsuit size, and they saw more Russian butt cheeks than anyone should have to see in a lifetime. They need nourishment.
Others of us suffered equally in the lobby, where we were tortured with 90s pop music, cigarette smoke, and slow wireless internet. Our applications did not load quickly, and people we did not want to see came and sat next to us. We are exhausted from the effort of maintaining simple sanity in the face of such hardship. We need refreshment.
It’s 1:24. According to the itinerary, lunch is in six minutes. We seat ourselves at a dining table, preparing to renew our souls. Silverware is fidgeted with, glasses filled with water. We are ready.
But something’s wrong. The staff is still setting out the food. The buffet is yet incomplete, and only the salad bar looks prepared. This does not bode well.
A few minutes pass. It is now 1:30. The staff gives us no signal. Do we sit like dumb beasts? Do we help ourselves to salad? Do we drink water and laugh as if everything were fine even though our stomachs cry out for salvation?
Unable to wait any longer, I decide to go for the salad bar. Just as I’m about to grab a tong-ful of cucumber slices, the staff member in charge of fruit arrangement stops me and says firmly “You wait five minutes. Please,” and points to my seat with disdain. This was not a request. I turn away, starving and indignant.
“Excuse me?” I think to myself, “Are we not on vacation? Is this not an all inclusive resort? Can we not act as we please? Is the salad bar not sitting in front of me, waiting to be devoured? Are there not hungry students behind me, waiting to eat? What kind of a cruel topsy turvy upside downy hell is this?”
I sit down. The time is 1:35. Angry mutterings rise from the table, “What did he say?” “Why can’t we eat the salad?” “I’m so hungry.” “What does it matter to him? They’re not even doing anything to it.” “grumble grumble complain grumble.”
And so we sit, staring at each other, grousing from every end, the buffet a mere 10 feet to the right.
Finally I could take it no more. What was this madness? It is lunchtime, the time in which we eat the lunch.
“Colleagues,” I said. “My peers, friends, brothers, sisters, acquaintances, enemies, and Steve, will you stand for this, that we should be deprived of eating lunch at the appointed hour? Will you submit to the arbitrary tyranny of the hotel staff? Will you cower and recoil in fear from a single man? No, dear friends. This is our lunch time, and lunch we shall, a great lunch, one that shall go down in history as the greatest resort lunch ever taken. Brothers, sisters, Steve, let us lunch!”
And with that I rose and went to the salad bar. A great cheer erupted and the others followed. Lunch we did, and I learned that the taste of victory is only as good as the food at the hotel.