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~Thursday~  The heat is starting to roll in in North Carolina, and I mean even as early as 8:00 in the morning. Today, I started my shade strategy, which is to say that I stayed on the side of the street opposite the city bus stop that is completely in the shade until the bus arrived at the nearby intersection. The bus can't turn until the traffic subsides, and when it does I can cross the street to the stop before the bus is able to turn.

Library Man was on board reading the local newspaper.

The two people sitting in front of me obviously knew each other even though they sat in separate seats across the aisle from each other. The woman got out some moisturizer, rubbed some into her hands, and then reached over and squirted some into the man's hand. I wasn't a big fan of the smell of it.

We passed the stop where the wife of My Three Sons, who's been completely AWOL over the last several months, was walking away from the stop with her little boy in tow, who is perhaps too young to go to school.

At the next stop, Li'l Dino boarded, and said hello to me as she passed by heading to a seat further back. Following directly behind her, a man walked by from whom the smell of pot wafted—either from his herbal breakfast breath, or potentially from pants that participated in partying in the past.



I had two meetings scheduled today, both in the afternoon, but one got canceled. Jen asked me if I wanted to take a walk, which I wasn't able to do until that first meeting got canceled. We walked off some off the calories in the candy corn we'd eaten just minutes before leaving. I enjoyed her impulsive bicycle-purchasing story en route.

I had a meeting from 3:00-5:00 in a building across campus, and I negotiated the Varsity to Wolflink Shuttle buses to arrive with seven minutes to spare before the meeting. Our campus COCO attended our meeting, and as two-hour meetings go, it passed relatively quickly.



Tonight, along with my work colleagues Stan, BJ, Jason, Chuck, Greg, Don, Harry, and Harry's son Alex, I volunteered for the Night Owl event, which is held at the end of each semester during exams to purportedly provide some relief to stressed out students, and during which, among other things, faculty and staff serve the students in the cafeteria lines in the place of the regular cafeteria staff. I had fun doing this last year (see pictures), but I was at the door welcoming the students and handing out raffle tickets, and this year I wanted to serve in the food line, which is exactly what I ended up doing.

It wasn't bad enough that these kids were eating dinner between 9:00 and 11:00 at night, but the food choices were nothing if not an indictment on the obesity epidemic in this country. In addition to the sheer amount of grease involved, note the "vegetable" choices.

Corn
Dogs

Mini-
Burgers

Chicken
Tenders

Hot
Dogs

Onion
Rings

Corn on
the Cob

Fried
Squash

Veggie
Burgers

Funnel
Cakes


Not noted here are my intermittent comments to some students when they wrinkled their noses at the choices, "Step right up. It's exam food, brain food."

I pretty much served the first three items on the line, and then I handed the plate down to my colleague, Greg, for items further down. This dining experience is an all-you-can-eat-for-one-price one, and it was not uncommon to hear this order, "One corn dog, two mini-burgers and a few chicken tenders." The mini-burgers were alternatively called "sliders" or "White Castle burgers" at times, which I didn't correct. I did say, "They're mini-burgers, is that okay?" whenever someone said, "I'll take one of your sausage biscuits." Interesting from a branding perspective, sometimes the chicken tenders were called "chicken nuggets," even though they were clearly "strips." They were also sometimes referred to as "chicken fingers," which purely from a visual perspective would be more accurate than nuggets.

Over the course of the two hours, various food choices were depleted. The corn dogs, the mini-burgers, and the chicken tenders all ran out. Two large pans of chicken wings came and went. By the end of the night we had only chicken breasts (flat, thin, and breaded and fried, of course), which after two or three students in a row referred to them as "chicken fingers," one of the regular dining room staff members, whom I think was a manager or supervisor, said to the last person who said it, "They're breasts, not fingers," in what sounded like a defensive poultry part point of clarification.

I got hot doing this job, and shortly after I felt a drip of sweat on my temple, one of the regular staff placed a couple of paper napkins next to me, and being as quick as I am, I got the message that it's probably not attractive to have sweat dripping off your face when you're serving food. I took off my latex gloves to dab my face dry, only to find my hands glistening with sweat under them. Gross.

By the end of the evening, there were only those thin chicken breasts and hot dogs left. The funnel cakes had long run out, the corn on the cob had been replaced with regular corn, and there were still some of the veggie burgers left, which incidentally were flat and thin like those pucks that come with air hockey games. They weren't very popular for some reason.

As always, I enjoyed my time interacting with the students, and before I left I had one of those chicken breasts on a hamburger bun, some Diet Coke, as I was desperately thirsty, and topped it off with a small vanilla ice cream cone before heading out to Flex to meet Alex and Bill for Trailer Park Prize Night.

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