22 Carpenter Court
Bite: Like the 1960s: so much promise, so much disappointment.
by Beau Cadiyo
Prevented from ordering sandwiches at the Feve, which doesn’t serve weekend lunch until 3 p.m., Lara talked us through a graceful exit and we continued down the street. A small sign caught our eye, and we followed it between two buildings and out into an oppressively hot parking lot, bearing right. Through the “market,” which was shelves of carefully arranged products, and over a sneeze-guarded fridge, a youngish woman took our orders, armpit hair sprouting proudly. She was very pleasant, wanting to make sure that she knew where we were sitting so she could find us.
Outside, we found the picnic table too hot to sit at. Inside, we found Zen Blocks, a non-competitive game from the 1960s, which proved too difficult to play casually. The waitress brought our drinks as we were playing backgammon. My iced chai came in a mason jar, which pleased me. I generally approve of this brand of utilitarianism. Then, when she brought my water, it was in a mason jar with a drinking handle, which set my jaw. Something about it struck me as inherently poseur-ish. It was an “authentic” touch, a tromp de l’oeil, a façade of hippiness that middle-aged suburban women who had no intention of giving up their SUVs but wanted to “experience” Oberlin would approve of excitedly while they misremembered the glory of the past. My lips thinned in indignation. Then, Lara realized that she lost her phone somewhere when we were taking pictures and couldn’t concentrate.
The sandwiches arrived fifteen minutes after I asked after them – they took so long that Lara suggested they might be making fresh cheese. Idea: pesto grilled cheese with veggies, Lara’s with chips, mine with salad. Reality: small slices of bread, slightly stuffed with pesto, cheese, tomato, and cucumber, and apparently lightly grilled, although the bottoms of both of our sandwiches seemed soaked through with some unidentifiable oily liquid. My salad was outstanding – sunflower seeds, greens and house vinaigrette. After waiting so long, hunger was a good spice, but eating at the back of our minds was that we waited so long for so little.
I paid up and we went from the market into the parking lot, then back through Oberlin to look for Lara’s phone. Something felt oppressively, unpleasantly unsatisfying, but we wanted to be positive about the experience. In the end, like the 1960s, there was much promise and so, so much disappointment.