You’ve heard the rumours, and you know what? They’re true. For three whole weeks (okay like two and a half) during the dark month of November, I dined at the infamous Stir it Up cafe in Buchanan each day (ok like maybe twice a week) to prove to my loyal fans (you) that I am dedicated to my craft (writing shitposts disguised as student journalism*).
Editor’s note: too generous.
I’m brave. I’m bold. I’m a survivor — nay — a trooper — no — a warrior. And I did it all for you. This is my story, this is my truth, this is my tale. One shot, one opportunity, mom’s spaghetti.
Preface over. Let’s freakin’ get into it.
Every Arts student knows the signature sounds of Stir it Up. The high pitched squeal of the janky espresso machine. The not-at-all-ambient background music. The clacking of fingers on keys. The Hamilton soundtrack filtering from the girl who she thinks she’s the main character’s crap Amazon headphones.
It’s a place of solace: rest between classes, shelter from the rain, food to calm stomach grumbling. Oh, to slide myself into one of the sticky leather booths and plug my phone in after a day of hitting ignore on Canvas notifications and doing the stupid Duo multi-factor authentication thing (comp sci students about to come for my throat — I do not care about “my data.” Leave me alone).
The line-up? Not bad.
As a serious journalist, I would never exaggerate or misguide you. It is not hard to acquire the mac 'n cheese. In fact, it’s rather simple, and remarkably affordable considering the cost of pretty much anything else on campus. At $4 for a small portion, and $5 or $6 for a large (I can’t remember sorry, sometimes the details are fuzzy after four weeks in the cheese sauce) this is a hot meal that you can actually afford if you’re living off of a Work Learn salary.
You will meet some lovely NPC students in line: for example, They-Don’t-Have-The-Sandwich-I-Wanted Guy and Is-This-Beef-Samosa-Vegetarian Girl.
These are harmless, but if you see Actually-Buys-Hard-Boiled-Eggs-From-The-Cold-Case Guy, run and do not look back.
The taste test
This is the real deal. The stunt part of stunt journalism. Splintery wooden spoon in shaking hand, I dug beneath the gooey surface. The colour was electric, and baby, I was hooked. A nearly cheese-like scent wafted up, and as I brought the spoon up to my mouth, I knew my life would be forever changed. For better? For worse? TBD.
It was gloopy, my friends. Think buffet mac 'n cheese (texturally speaking), and blander than IKEA mac 'n cheese taste-wise, all wrapped up in a generic paper cup bowl thing.
Was it good? No. Was it bad? No. Was it warm? Yes. Was it cheaper than a grande cinnamon dolce latte? Also yes. Do with this information what you will.
And so, to honour you, and to honour my commitment to journalism (hallelujah), to integrity and to truth, I fulfilled my promise. I ate that damn mac 'n cheese, and I ate it good. I ate it with honour, my friends.
Day after day, bite after bite, I stared my professor down, embracing my growing reputation as mac 'n cheese girl as the classroom smelled ever more like Kraft Singles.
So what? What was the point? What was it all for?
I lay awake in my bed, sort-of-cheese coating my stomach lining, asking myself what I learned from this journey. And as I searched, the more I found.
I thought about the attributes of the mac 'n cheese. Dependable. Warm. Technically edible. The more I thought, the more I knew. Maybe I am the mac 'n cheese. Since my partner dumped me on mac 'n cheese day 9, maybe I am the Kraft Single. Maybe I'm happier this way.
The end? (Yes, this is the end)
I leave this pasta-filled period of my life with a newfound sense of self. Real. Raw. Gloopy. Authentically me.
Moral of the story? Eat your truth.