The Anarchy Gauntlet is a column attempting to move away from my more traditional Marxist-themed articles to a framework centered around anarchism, which better reflects my beliefs. Anarchism advocates for the end to unjustified hierarchies from boss-worker relations to even parent-child dynamics as we know them. Anarchists believe in the same post-capitalism, communist society as other far-left groups but differs in the practice and means of actualizing that society. This basic idea of anarchism will be further explored in later articles.
Did you begin reading this article thinking it would be a philosophical treatise on the abstract and very physical manifestation of lines? Well, you were wrong. Ha, one point for me, nada for Larry U. In any case, I am three sentences in and am here to tell you all the reasons why I despise waiting in line and why the institution of waiting lines should be abolished.
As an anarchist, after all, hierarchies are to me what cucumbers are to cats, and what could be more hierarchical than the linear experience of line-waiting?
You might say, wait just one minute, lines are equal access to all — a perfect example of democracy. If we use the lines outside the Andrew Commons as an example, sure, no particular student has priority access or placement in the waiting line, that is true. However, as the philosopher Proudhon would say, equality (or rather equity) without justice is tyranny.
An equitable society is not truly free until personal liberties and self-actualization are included as well, a sentiment echoed by Reverend Dr. MLK Jr.’s synthesis of socialism and capitalism into a system that prioritizes the rights of all alongside Black self-determination. Wait, what does this have to do with waiting lines?
Well, in my opinion, the problem lies in that the system we have implemented at Lawrence is too cookie-cutter for there to be guidelines for how individuals should actually behave. Of course, we have markers indicating the proper six feet of distancing, though really 12 feet is more effective; there are hand sanitizers at various intervals; traffic flows one-way; glass barriers prevent the exchange of airborne particulate matter; and food is distributed in one-use containers.
All this infrastructure is all well and good, and I would not change the procedures setup in Andrew Commons. What really concerns me is people, a factor which comprises the majority of the virus’s spread.
Each day, I dread the elongated but necessary ritual of grabbing my foodstuffs from the Andrew Commons. Not only is it the moment when I am most at risk for catching COVID-19, it is also when my autistic existence causes the most inconvenience, much like shopping at a grocery store.
As I pass two different menu kiosks displaying the daily meal options, I am simultaneously aware of the humanoid(s) in tow behind me, whether it be a trio of wide-eyed freshman or a quartet of senior f***boys. I am well-aware that they are within the newly CDC recommended 12 feet of distance, if not within the standard six feet, of my anxious ass.
Both menu kiosks pass by unread as I rush away from the ever-approaching specter of COVID-19. After this prolonged journey from the Warch entrance to the Andrew Commons, I reach the battle royale of meal stations.
We are encouraged to know our preferences prior to entering the line. I, as recounted, am completely in the dark at this juncture. So, while I contemplate the semi-crowded room I am entering, I attempt to read the tiny-print menus with my three-year-old prescription glasses.
Seeing as there are people both behind and in front of me, though, I make a guesstimate about the food I will enjoy.
Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am not. This is just another layer of uncertainty mixed in with the shit-lasagna of the pandemic. On top of that, students are either too close to me, commingling between lines or I feel the social pressure to be an exact and efficient line member. Once I finally leave the Andrew Commons, I feel less over-encumbered by the line’s drain on my lifeforce.
Yet I will always be reminded of these torments when I leave my room to stuff my food-hole with foodstuffs. I am sure that if Bon App placed a couple of menu kiosks elsewhere, such as outside Warch, this line anxiety would be somewhat alleviated. I say this because I know that my mind will be too preoccupied with school or *gestures broadly* to check some online menu. Even so, the other element is the student body itself.
Colleges across the nation have experienced shutdowns and outbreaks. Let us not forget that COVID-19’s spread is thanks to structural inequalities in healthcare access, but we should still hold ourselves and each other accountable for our actions.
The most marginalized communities are affected by the pandemic, after all, so we and our unwillingness to quarantine and social distance are literally enacting structural violence on them.
Now, I could stand here on my soapbox and shame everyone I deemed a dirty plague rat, but that would be ineffective for numerous reasons.
One, most people justify their actions as valid and good-natured until a close or trusted friend of theirs calls them out on their shit. That is not my job. Two, as young adults the decision-making parts of our brains are not yet fully developed, thus leaving random schmucks likelier to violate social distancing.
This is in addition to the fact that U.S. culture encourages young people to be risky. Three, there is no certain way to know my words alone could cause a notable effect. Therefore, I am calling Mark Burstein, in his last year of presidency, to abandon the waiting lines that so plague our campus.
Instead, we shall reinstate the Colman cafeteria and install several food stations around campus. To fund these changes, Larry U will have to become Larry the Red Lobster University, as Red Lobster™ is now our university sponsor. Also, Friday, Sep. 25, the day this article is published, is National Lobster Day. So, there.
If you have comments, questions or concerns you would like to express, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.