What it’s like to be a SEAL, or, O’Donovan’s on the Waterfront
Eating at Georgetown is something we all do. Three times a day if we’re feeling healthy. Perhaps a Chicken Madness from Wisey’s, or ladies lunch at Pie Sisters. Leo O’Donovan Dining Hall, however, is the mecca that every student at Georgetown must commit to for two years, unless you’re lucky to live in an apartment your sophomore year.
Okay, lucky is a stretch. Some people stick with their meal plans till the end of their four years at school. Seniors Eating at Leo’s (SEALs) are growing every year, despite the general complaints from the student body that Leo’s does not have what it used to once. Students hailing from as far as Glover Park make their treks to Leo’s with backpacks and Tupperware ® for the treats they will hide in their pockets to bring home some banana chowder.
Some seniors did leave their meal plans due to the totalitarian nature of the establishment. Eliminating the Make Your Own Pizza stand was a huge hit for most students.
“Why would you get rid of the one thing that makes Leo’s tolerable? You’re out in the frontier making your pizza pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. It’s freedom. That’s all I have to say,” Mark Waterman (SFS ’13) whispered under his breath. But that wasn’t allll he had to say. “The idea of separating the worker from the product of its labor, me being the worker and the pizza being the product of my labor.”
Without the make your own pizza stand, some students feel they’ve been reduced to childlike standards.
“I like making my own pizza,” Bruce Thomas (SFS ’13) shouted across a rowdy Leo’s table. “I feel powerless, impotent. Like some small child. And it really does taste like heated up Lunchables instead of like actual tasty pizza.”
Bruce’s favorite part of Leo’s is the ice cream floats. Oatmeal cookies have gotten too hard lately. “The milk doesn’t even soften them up, that’s how hard they are. They float for a little bit and then sink,” he cried, shaking his head.
“Satisfaction at Leo’s is a slippery nipple,” Christy Geaney (Hufflepuff ’13) laughed enigmatically. “On my first trip to late night, expecting nothing more than buckets of spaghetti and a drawer of bread, I was shocked to discover a glorious taco station brimming with soft tortillas and neon-colored peppers. But when I returned to recreate the meal there is no comparison, mostly because I haven’t seen a soft tortilla since.”
Three cups of coffee for Geaney means a whole lot of interesting encounters at Leo’s. “When you’re walking along and someone’s walking towards you and you guys both step to the same side and then you step to the other side and then you do that dance, and it’s awkward, and then you commit to one side and hope that that moment ended.”
Maybe it’s the students who aren’t seniors who get the most bang for their buck. Some truly take advantage of the endless possibilities that an all-you-can-eat-style dining hall provides. “It’s the closest supermarket,” Phil Rogers (MSB ’14) said, holding his Tupperware in one hand and six bananas in the other.
He also mentioned some of the best creations he’s made at Leo’s. “I made what I like to call the Leo’s apple turnover, where I took a pita, cut it in half, put sliced apple inside, with honey and cinammon, and peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter—it’s gotta be crunchy. Sliced apples in a pita pocket, panini that and had vanilla ice cream sauce for dipping. Another time I took chocolate chip cookies, broke ’em up, put them into the waffle-maker with batter, I made a chocolate chip waffle and made a sundae on top of it.“
Of course, there’s room for even more improvement. “Hot dogs, split down the middle, filled with bacon, smothered in cheese, wrapped in pizza, doused in hot sauce with a little bit of mustard,” Cannon Warren (SFS ’14) ran his hand through his hair, sighing. “Also, I refuse to eat either end of a banana, give or take half a centimeter. Someone told me when I was little that insects pooped in one of the ends of the banana and I never figured out which end so I don’t eat either.”
Whether you wanted to or not, you’re bound to run into some romantic couples going on a date at the dining hall. “I met my fiancée there,” John Mannix (COL ’14) said, rolling his eyes and rubbing his stomach.
Ground beef tends to be a frequent item on the menu, even when you would prefer to literally eat anything else. “I walked in and you see their menu, their quote-unquote ‘menu,’ all the little plates they have with all the delicious looking food in Saran wrap. You begin salivating. Only to find, that they’ve run out of every entree, and replaced it with ground beef,” Mike Pacheco (MSB ’14) spits in disgust.
When asked to compare Leo’s to any institution or organization, a student used the second oldest paramilitary group Hitler Youth as an analogy. “Maybe we ourselves are the youth of the institution of Leo’s that works for the larger industrial technological complex that it is, the bureaucracy of Georgetown,” Johnny Romano (COL ’14) whistled, tapping his toe and drumming to a beat. “I have dreams of smoking a post-meal cigarette in Leo’s.”
At the end of day, Leo’s is what keeps us all together.
“Either it’s a post-meal cigarette, or getting intimate with your loved ones in the diner-style booths, but Leo’s is a place that will forever keep us this way. United and divided,” Voxy Gurl (SFS ’13) wrote in the blog, Vox Populi.
Vanya Mehta has now resigned as Vox Populi editor. A different member of the Voice who will introduce himself tomorrow. In the meantime, grab a friend, have a glass of wine, and bring your loved ones to Leo’s.
Picture provided by Christy Geaney