So, by the time it was time for me to chow down, the cafeteria had closed. I figured a quick trip down the street to Holy Kamole was in order--their cafeteria stays open all day and usually has pretty good food. Out, then, I went, into the big world.
In order to get to Holy Kamole, you have to pass a McDonald's adjacent to a lot where every homeless person in town hangs out. There are also a number of aggressive and persistent pigeons. As a result, the city has put up signs saying not to feed either group.
There are regulars at the lot. One of them is That Guy Who Moves Things. He's got something seriously wrong with his worldview, and the way he deals with it is by moving things. Not much, just a few inches to the right or left or forward or backwards, depending on what the voices are saying. He's been there for years, he's harmless, we all know him. He's as much a part of the cityscape as the pigeons.
I discovered as I cut through the lot that That Guy Who Moves Things had become That Guy Who Moves Things, Then Without Warning Lunges At You And Screams. Between him and the toothless old dude feeding the pigeons, it was an adventure getting to Holy Kamole. I was dodging Lunging Screaming Guy and aggressive pigeons the whole way.
When I got to HK, I stood in line for a minute. I asked the person serving for a plate of delicious whatever-it-was and some what-the-hell as a side. She stared at me as though I'd grown three heads, and then rounded on the person behind her (who was just trying to refill the bins of food on the steamer table) and began screaming obscenities. The other woman responded, and pretty soon we had a full-fledged Ladies In Hairnets shoving match going on.
The weirdest thing about it was that the other people in the serving line simply continued on with their work as though two of their coworkers going at it hammer-and-tongs was not a new thing. I eventually got my Delicious Something and Sides and headed for the cash register.
Where, apparently, I resembled a particularly fascinating space alien. It took me waving money in front of the guy behind the register to get him to quit staring openmouthed and charge me for my food. Not sure what was going on there.
Back, then, across the lot, past the Newly Lunging And Screaming Guy, through the cloud of increasingly pissed-off and freaky birds, dance across the street in front of oncoming traffic, and back to La Schwankienne, where I boarded the elevator.
Which creaked its way to the third floor, grunted, and died.
I blinked. I hit the buttons. I tapped my foot. I gave up, resigned myself to my fate, and decided that at least I could have a nice quiet lunch on my own, there in the broken elevator. I opened the box of food.
And the elevator juddered into life and took me to my floor.