|Posted by Kristen Geil on May 25, 2011 at 12:50 AM|
So I graduate this Saturday.
Peace out Transy.
I honestly haven't been thinking about it too much, but it started to hit home this past Sunday with my last sorority event ever. I know it's not surprising that people leave town and move on after graduation, but our class in particular is getting out like Lexington's on fire. I have friends leaving for Washington DC, Boston, Thailand, New Zealand, and Louisville- all within one week after graduation. Would it kill you all to ease me into this separation a little bit?
Today, however, I faced one of the hardest goodbyes I will have this week: I ate lunch for the last time in the Rafskellar, the campus sandwich/wings place.
Layson, eating alone.
I can't lie, when I first came to Transy I absolutely hated "The Raf." The lines were outrageous, and at the time I preferred the greater variety that the cafeteria had to offer. Plus, the sandwich lady was super slow and super grumpy.
But this year, a perfect storm of magical events happened to make the Raf my only lunch destination. In fact, I ate every lunch there except for one- Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria (and I regret that decision).
(Not an actual picture, but my meal was as uninspiring as this one)
As you old Transy grads can tell from the picture above, the Raf got a glamorous makeover. I like sitting in the booths with just one or two of my friends rather than navigating the crowds and lunchroom politics of the caf. Also, I started to realize that the cafeteria food is gross.
But most importantly, Eugene started working the sandwich line.
(Not actually Eugene)
I'm not really sure how our friendship started or how we got to casually chatting. But over this year, it has become something that I look forward to each and every day. For those of you who know Layson and me pretty well, you know that we can generally make conversation with a wall. Well, this skill is probably what first got us talking with Eugene and his sandwich-making sidekick, Miss Tammy. From our lunchtime conversations, we know that Eugene is a big sports fan (albeit a Louisville and Miami Heat guy- only bad thing about him, I swear) and that his favorite music is jazz, with a little bit of rap thrown in. We've learned that he's a huge supporter of Transy sports and makes it a priority to go to basketball and baseball/softball games. We know that he lives near Transy and he likes going to Thursday Night Live. He loves hearing about all of our adventures and supported us all throughout our Amazing Race audition process, constantly telling us he would watch the show if we were on there.
These are just superficial likes and dislikes, though. Eugene genuinely cares about us and our well-being. He knows our sandwich orders by heart. He serenaded me with a jazzy rendition of "Happy Birthday" on my 21st. Before we went on spring break, he gave us a serious "Be Careful" speech that sounded like it could have come from my mother. He asked us for a souvenir too, which we gladly brought back- a red baseball cap, which he wears from time to time. In perhaps the most "single girl" moment of my life, I made him a Valentine declaring that he "wrapped up my heart" or some other horrible sandwich pun, and he proudly displayed it behind the counter for a solid month. When he found out that we were graduating this year, he actually got really upset and for the past couple weeks has made us promise to come back and visit (which I will gladly do). Whenever he's seen me dressed up from my usual Norts/T-shirt Raf attire, he's complimented me with a "You look real nice today." And his face lights up when it's our turn in line. No joke.
It's not just me who loves him. Judging by the amount of "Bye Eugene! Have a great summer!" I heard at lunch today, I'm pretty sure every Transy student to frequent the sandwich line feels this way. At Greek Family Feud, he was one of the five who made the list for "Faculty/Staff Member You Want to Call Mom/Dad," and for good reason. Eugene may have a gold tooth, but he also has a heart of gold.
So that's why I'm naming him a Lexington's Best Kept Secret, although I guess it's more of a Transy's best kept secret. Layson and I said goodbye to Eugene today and were lucky enough to get a picture (it was Eugene who insisted on the stairs for a classier pose than behind the sandwich counter).
We'll see him at graduation where he'll work the reception, and don't be surprised if I introduce him to my family. Eugene, I love you and I'll miss you next year.