J272 – Sketch: Nostalgic Lunch

Written March 7th, 2010

I decided to eat something nostalgic for lunch today.

I had showered in the morning for a change, so I tied up my still-damp hair and headed out of the dormitory. I stared at my feet as I walked down the three flights of stairs to the ground level (Was I actually concerned as to where my feet were landing, or did I not have anywhere else to look at? I’ve found that I usually stare at my feet when I walk; I should make a conscious effort to look up.). It struck me that I’ve basically gone up and down the same flights of stairs at least once a day for nine months out of the year these past three years.

I passed the soda machine in the hallway — SOLD and OUT still flashed on its display. I suppose that’s only to be expected; no one really sells 50-cent cans anymore.

As I walked down the street, it didn’t feel much like winter. I suppose it’s March now, but that doesn’t mean that it should seem like the midmorning of a day in summer vacation either. It’s probably the sudden reappearance to sun after several weeks of half-cloudy, rain-and-snow-y weather. We’ve had disappointing weather the past few weeks: A sort of noncomittal snow that fell from the sky but never piled up, ordinary rainstorms neither misty nor dramatically falling out of the sky. I fixed my hair using the the shadow of me the sun cast on the ground — a small tuft of hair had escaped being pulled into the ponytail.

I arrived at the sandwich counter in the convenience store in the student center. Not too many weeks ago, they had changed their menu, paring down the items and probably improving the graphic design — the old menu had been lists of meats and toppings you could place on your sub, somewhat confusing. I’m not sure I actually really remember what it looked like, despite seeing it several times each week in the two years prior.

The sandwich counter had switched to having little paper slips you could fill out with what you wanted to order, probably after several complaints of customers receiving the wrong thing. I decided to order my sandwich by talking to the sandwich counter guy directly anyway. Ham sub, lettuce, tomato, a little bit of mayo, american cheese, on wheat. I usually get hot sandwiches, but I was in the mood for something a bit nostalgic. And cold. I don’t think I’ve really had a ham sandwich like that since high school. I tend to forgo condiments of any sort — they’re sort of empty calories, though I’m not sure why I bother thinking about that — so I don’t know if really remember what mayo tastes like anyway. Before he actually put it together, the guy checked with me to make sure he got the order right. Ham, lettuce, tomato, little bit of mayo, american cheese, and wheat right? Yeah.

While I waited for the sandwiches I inspected the chips. Baked chips, classic chips, ruffled chips … I inspected the packages. Like I thought, the baked chips weigh less. The package is smaller too. I turned them over, and inspected the calorie information. I don’t know why I did that. I suppose it’s a good thing to shave off excess calories when you can. I know I didn’t want the baked ones; those are a pretty recent innovation, as far as I can tell, riding on this new trend towards “healthier” food. I’m not sure if attemting to make empty calorie snack foods healthier is some sort of lost cause. At any rate, I picked the “classic” chips. Maybe it was because they had less sodium than the ruffled cheddar ones?

Something to drink. I passed the cans of soda by — at a dollar each, the price gouging was clearly visible. The plastic bottles of major brands I also ignored. Whatever happened to the days when you could get a 20-ounce bottle of soda for a dollar? I guess I sound like an old man sometimes; I do sometimes prefer older things to new ones. (I’m typing this on a computer, but I wish I had a typewriter. A kind old man down the street gave me his hundred-year old one as he was moving out, but it’s nowhere near working condition.) I grabbed a glass bottle of root beer and headed to the counter.

I checked out, and left without taking a bag for my food. It’s not like it’s particularly difficult to hold a sub, a bottled soda, and a bag of chips. I scurried through the crosswalk before the light changed, climbed the stairs to the campus buildings, then headed to the room where I was meeting my group for a class project.

It took me three swipes with my ID card before I actually was able to get into the room. One of the group members was later than I was; whatever.

I opened the sub. White bread?

The sub hadn’t been cut either; just one massive roll of bread, with ham and tomatoes poking out the side. When the root beer ran out, I was only three-quarters of the way through, and too full for any more. There were still chips left too. The bags sure are a lot bigger than when I was in elementary school — and the price tag too, as the large “99” on the bag reminds me. The sandwhich and chips are too big, and the soda is too small.

That’s not right. When you grow up, isn’t everything supposed to shrink relative to you? I folded up what was left of the sandwich in the foily paper it came in and left it alone during the meeting.

And so, I had nostalgia for lunch, and leftover nostalgia at dinner. But not quite.

[3/10/2010] Was pretty busy over the weekend and was pretty stressed out, so I decided to write something. Basically, I woke up on Sunday and basically went, “Huh, I’m a college student now.” I drew this pen sketch to go with it; I think I rather like the effect I get with ball-point pens; I probably should buy some more. And a sketchpad.

Also, I will be present at Anime Boston this year! A few friends and I are joining together to make a Vocaloid doujinshi; come look for us at Artist Alley!

… And we only have until the end of this month to finish our artwork! D:

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