Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yes, you too

The NerdCo complex is vast enough that we have multiple cafeterias, most of them set up much like those at large universities: there's a salad bar and a pizza line, a burger grill, a Hot Entree of the Day station. When you first walk in, there's an area where you can pick up your tray from a huge stack of identical, neutral-institutional-gray plastic slabs and make your way in to select a meal.

The first time I noticed this, maybe a week or two ago, I thought it was a nice fluke, a random act of kindness: scrawled across the bottom of a tray (they're stacked upside-down) in black Sharpie were the words YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. It was charming and forgettable. But I just saw it again. Different handwriting, too, so for certain another, a second, tray. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

And maybe it's just a copycat thing, I don't know. But maybe it's a movement. A meme, a message from the universe, spreading the word one dull cafeteria tray at a time. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, whether you pick up this tray or not. Whether you falter, like I did today, and get the chicken strips instead of a salad, or not. You in the sweatpants; you, engineer in smudged glasses; you in the heels; you in the food-service apron. Me, you, everyone who saw that tray this afternoon--listen. I hope you were paying attention, because hello, we're beautiful.

While I was standing there woolgathering a cafeteria worker appeared with a cartload of freshly washed trays and began randomly piling them onto the existing stacks. He evidently took no notice of the message tray, and covered it up. It's now buried, somewhere in the middle of a clattering gray pile. But too late--I saw it. I know it's there...and now you do too. You are beautiful; pass it on.

3 comments:

Brooke said...

You ARE beautiful. Chicken strips and all.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the trays are in love with each other.

Gael said...

Man, apparently we are not so beautiful over in building 25. We don't have the magic trays. But we do have the Shamiana Indian cuisine in our caf--damn fine Major Grey's chicken.