September 1, 2010

Picnic Under The Sale Section

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Last semester, the great Allie Perez and Ahsiya Kurlansky wrote for the masses about social norms and knowingly broke them for the sake of a good column.  This year, I hope to do my favorite Cornell alums (next to Oscar Mayer) proud and be just as awkward. So next time you step into your Intro Anthro section (Matt Bernius is the best TA, FYI) and someone throws out the phrase “social norms” and then asks for your thoughts, I hope you don’t reference the reading or recite a textbook definition, but think of me here at Outer Limits and say “Who needs them?!”  And without further introduction, here are the details of my first foray into the overgrown path between unintentionally, slightly awkward moments and purposefully awkward ones.  Here’s to hoping that this semester will be filled with many more.

Every year, select members of the dedicated Sun staff convene and put together the sacred list of 161 Things To Do Before Graduating (but seriously guys, when I say sacred, I truly believe that they actually hire monks to chant in the background when they compile the list).  Well, that’s how I assume that they do it – I’ve never been selected or dedicated enough to be on the committee.

In attempt to create our own list, last year my roommates (much love to B.Kaps, J-nut, Siobhanwise Gamgee, & the real Siobhan) and I compiled a not-so-sacred list of 50 things to do by the end of the year.  Some of them were straight off the 161 list (streaking through the Arts Quad), some tested our hygiene (not shaving your legs for six weeks), others were embarrassing (audibly singing along to your iPod while walking to class – my apologies to anyone who heard me wailing “Shawty’s like a melody in my head” while climbing the slope), and others you’d have to be a masochist to complete (walking to class barefoot when there’s snow on the ground – you may end up with a gnarly Mr. Deeds-esque frostbitten foot after that).   Though I didn’t complete every item on the list, I got all the worthwhile ones done, including having a picnic at the Cornell Store.

It is common knowledge that most stores (with the exception of Vons, Ralphs, etc. – west coast grocery chains ftw!) don’t allow food/drink inside.  Since you’ll probably drop at least some food, consequently causing an ant infestation, I’d say that’s a fair store policy.  Needless to say, it’d be pretty awkward to show up at a store that didn’t sell groceries, with your picnic basket and blanket in hand, ready to set-up shop.  So in true Outer Limits fashion, this is what I did.

As fearless as I like to think I am – possibly more so than Taylor Swift (hope you t-swift fans out there caught that) – even I didn’t want to show up alone at the Cornell Store with my take-out (I’m not legitimate enough of a picnic-er to have cut up carrot sticks for the occasion).  After talking some of my happy-go-lucky comrades into joining me, we set off for the Cornell Store with our lunch box specials from Koko’s (Korean food at it’s finest) on a sunny day.  Honest to blog (to quote a little Juno for you) it would’ve been the perfect time to have a picnic outside and let’s face it, those days are few and far between in the Ithaca bubble.  But weather be damned, I was going to have my picnic indoors!

Upon our arrival, we hunkered down in the art supplies section.  Amidst acrylics, oils, and paintbrushes of various sizes we chatted – loud enough to be conspicuous but soft enough to avoid being obnoxious.  After nearly twenty minutes and a handful of stares and doubletakes, a man in his patent red shirt came to confront us.  Confront seems to be the wrong verb.  If anything, he seemed amused by our antics.  He came over and simply stated “so that’s where the smell is from!  I thought I smelled Asian food!”  Well, right you were, my little Ezra employee.  A second member in his band of merry followers came by five minutes later to see if his friend had been telling the truth – yes, there were students picnicking in the art section.  A third employee came to see what the fuss was about, but no one scolded us like school children caught in the teacher’s lounge, no one asked us to make like a banana and split, no one even asked for a bit of chicken!

Alas, if the weather is crappy (so, after Labor day… don’t be alarmed freshmen!), go ahead and bring your picnic basket and thermos of ho-cho to the Cornell Store, you’ve got nothing to lose.  But if it’s a nice day, you might as well enjoy your Muscle Beach Lemonade and fro-yo outdoors.

Original Author: Hazel Gunapala