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Anton Zhou / Staff Illustrator

There will be a line when there’s an omelet involved. I’ve learned that quickly.

This line might form in Ferris one morning. You’ll see me rocking back and forth, eyeing the ingredients behind the glass partition, waiting for them to be sewn into the sinews of two eggs. If you don’t spot me at Ferris, you could stroll over to John Jay during lunch and find me in that line, too. I’d look similar—maybe eyes a little droopy after the first lecture of the day—but the omelet will be different. Bigger. Fluffier. A few hours later, you could run into me again in JJ’s, with a cheesy egg snack the size of a burrito on my plate.

Imagine that. Three omelets from three different dining halls. All within a day. After having spent two years at a different university where eggs were only available, scrambled, between 7:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.—I’ve been tempted.

I didn’t eat my first made-to-order omelet until my second week at Columbia, after working up the patience to wait in the John Jay lunch line. By the end of the week, I’d tried an omelet at each of the dining halls. They were good. Spinach and mushrooms and whatever else I craved at the time wrapped up in a pleasant eggy exterior. Nothing to complain about; nothing to call home about, either.

The dining hall omelet isn’t likely to revolutionize your palate, but the demand for it is high. Even with all the grab-and-go meals around us, there are always students beside me, willing to wait, seemingly unbothered by the minutes that rush by as we stand in anticipation.

Why do we choose to stand in line?

Maybe, we wait because we want to slow down. To take a quick break. To hear the egg sizzle on the griddle and watch the chef flip it into a delicate fold. This is a fast-paced school in a fast-paced city where food can be fast, too. But the made-to-order-omelet, it takes time. When we commit to it, we have to take our time as well.

Or maybe, we just want to talk. To say, “I’d like cheese and bacon and onions, please,” because speaking up in seminar was too difficult that evening. To interact with someone else just for a moment, after hours sitting in a chair, tucked away in a library, studying alone. Because a made-to-order omelet makes you order. It states it right in its name. There’s no chance of walking away without a word.


Have fun leafing through our fourth issue!

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