Monday, May 5, 2008

A2A: The Teen Years

Tip of the Day: Buying lunch at a deli every day? Yes, Coke Classic and Goldberg's Peanut Chews is a great lunch, but you should probably limit consumption to once a week.

Welcome to an irregularly occurring feature of the Author 2 Author blog. It's A2A: The Teen Years! We write YA because we love teenagers. And we've never fully grown out of being teenagers. (You regular readers probably figured that out, huh?)

This week we're discussing hangouts. Where did you hang out as a teen and why? Because there was nothing more important than getting the heck out of your house, was there?

My friends and I had a special meeting place, because I was an incredibly lucky, amazingly fortunate teenager. My high school had off campus lunch. That meant no cafeteria, no smell of industrial food, no ostracizing and bullying over lunch tables, no ridiculous rules and harassed enforcers, no extra time with the people I was never going to get along with. 45 less minutes a day for people to stick their noses in my social life. God bless off-campus lunch, preventer of fights and food poisoning epidemics!

Lunch was still cliquey, of course. This was high school. The basketball players/cheerleaders never entered our deli, and we never entered their pizza place. But as you can see from my graduation picture, I was socially acceptable enough (no extra noses or anything) to gain entrance to the Great Southern Deli for lunch.

You had to earn a table spot there over years of apprenticeship. The junior and senior boys might give up their chairs for us girls, but the freshman and sophomore boys were like young wolves circling the pack, banished to the arcade games while we flirted with the older guys. Of course the young guys took revenge by never letting us girls play the good video games. They'd be all, "Go play Dig Dug, that's a girl's game." Sexist pigs. Not that it stopped me from dating them.

Once we were the upperclassmen, the Great Southern Deli was ours. My friends took part time jobs there. It became the rendevous before any of our super exciting weekend night adventures, which usually revolved around figuring out where to get liquor without a 21 year old. Yup, all planned out at the tables in Great Southern Deli.

The deli was named Great Southern because I grew up on the Great South Bay on Long Island. My high school was very small for Long Island: 90 people in my graduating class. To date me, we played arcade games in delis instead of on Playstations and hoarded quarters. We ordered heros and "regular" coffee (which today means subs and coffee with 1 creamer and 1 sugar packet per cup). My town hadn't let 7-11 or other convenience store chains in yet, or even self-serve gas stations. You wanted a pack of smokes, you went to a deli.

I don't know how common off campus lunch is anymore, especially if you're not a senior. It was debated in my town every year. Local businesses were all for it, but I think some townspeople panicked at the idea that teens were roaming the neighborhood loose every day. The horror!! And that was the best part of off-campus lunch--being treated as adults who could go out to lunch, rather than as some mutant zombie race that had to be cordoned off from the rest of society. Of course, if any of those lone wolf boys by the Gauntlet machines got out of line and jeopardized our off campus lunch, the pack would've eaten him alive.

Time travel with us all week for A2A: The Teen Years! And share your hangout stories in the comments. Let me know what you think about off campus lunch. Blessing or disaster waiting to happen?

-- Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Love the picture, Kate!

Man, I wish we could have had off-campus lunch! Nope, lunch at our school was the same clique-fest it is in most schools. Friday nights, however, were football/basketball nights. After a home game, everyone flocked to the local Pizza Hut (or as we called it, "Pizza Slut") to flirt and gawk and usually avoid a fight with the rival high school that inevitably tried to horn in on our hangout.

I, of course, was a major wall flower. I hung out with a group of guy friends mostly. My best friend was the prom queen/homecoming queen all that. But in an absolutely mold-breaking move, she never became a cheerleader.

Usually a bunch of us would end up at a friend's house (not mine!) to watch Stripes or Animal House or some other raucus movie. Ahhh....I guess there was something good about adolescence!

Emily Marshall said...

Great post, Kate. Love the hair :)!
We didn't have off campus lunch, but then again my school was out in the country and there wasn't any food place within walking distance, but a gas station.

amuse me said...

Kate -- your teen years sound like a teen novel just waiting to happen.

Our hangout, long ago, was the first McDonald's in our big city. It was one of the original styles with the arches, no seating inside -- so the parking lot became our hangout.

Kristina Springer said...

OMG-- you were SO LUCKY! We were tortured with school lunch. And it was gross. Always. Though, at the end of the year after finals we were let of campus briefly for lunch-- but it was like a one mile walk to the nearest place (Burger King), which we of course did just to eat for five minutes and walk back.

DeenaML said...

I don't remember if we really had open lunch, but a lot of ppl left the high school for lunch whether or not it was allowed. Stay tuned for my post on Wed to see where we all went!

Lisa Schroeder said...

We could eat off-campus, and most people did. In a small town, there weren't many choices. McDonalds or Taco Time was about it. But oh how I loved going to lunch with my friends. The best part of the day for sure! :)

Kate Fall said...

Ha ha, Deena made her own off-campus lunch!