Short for cafeteria
Reno, NV 89512
This was only the third time I’d ever been up to Truckee Meadows Community College. I’ve considered taking courses there but haven’t for a couple of reasons, one being that I get around by bicycle. Though riding up that hill is certainly doable, I know myself well enough to know that I’d end up cutting classes with the not-very-viable excuse of being lazy.
I was supposed to meet my friend Erik at the TMCC café, but I didn’t know where to go on campus. I asked a baseball-capped brohiem. He thought about it for a minute and then grunted, “Tell you the truth, dude, I’m not exactly sure.” I called Erik for directions, which he gave me before informing me that he wouldn’t be able to make it out to eat.
I felt a surge of panic. I was lost and confused in a strange place, where I didn’t know anyone and people were studying subjects I didn’t understand. I felt, in short, like a college freshman.
I wouldn’t have been able to face the shame of dining alone, so with neurotic desperation, I began searching my phone for a friend to call in a favor from. The only one I could get hold of was my ex-girlfriend Danielle. She grudgingly agreed to meet me.
She arrived shaking her head with haughty disdain. “Here I am to bail you out, once again. What a surprise.”
When we found the café, it quickly became clear that, in this case at least, “café” was short for “cafeteria.” This is the sort of place where one walks through a turnstile and then pushes a tray around, piles up food and then pays at a cash register before sitting down at a long table to chow down while doing homework.
The food ranges across the wide spectrum of exotic collegiate favorites, like pizza and burgers. They also have breakfast specials and a sandwich menu entitled “Sub Generation,” a name that doesn’t make any sense to me.
The grill is called “The Players Grill,” and that name’s tough, jock-ular and seems to be missing an apostrophe. We both ordered from the grill. Danielle had the veggie burger ($3.99). I had the “All Star” bacon cheeseburger ($3.99), draped in plasticine American cheese, with a thin patty as black as Sabbath on the outside and as pink as Floyd on the inside.
We also had salads from the “Wild Greens” salad bar: big beds of iceberg blanketed with all the snazzy accouterments like crotons, chickpeas and beets. The salads cost $.32 an ounce. That’s right, this is food sold by the ounce—and when they’re ringing you up, they actually say, “Please place your salad on the scale.” Danielle was proud that her salad weighed in at $5.38, while mine was a measly $4.09.
The salads were pretty good as far as cafeteria salads go, though that’s not saying much. But as a destination for hungry students, it’s totally fine. I had a hard time finishing my food just because I hadn’t been too hungry to begin with—and it’s not really food you’d want to eat if you weren’t already starving. Luckily most college students live in a perpetual state of deluded starvation.