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A love letter to Bodo’s

The bagel shop has been my steadfast companion throughout my years at the University

<p>I have gone to Bodo’s Bagels almost every day of the academic calendar for the last two years.</p>

I have gone to Bodo’s Bagels almost every day of the academic calendar for the last two years.

I have gone to Bodo’s Bagels almost every day of the academic calendar for the last two years. Being a “creature of habit” has always suited me, but my daily Bodo’s trip has taken this to a new level. I go every day at noon to order a plain bagel with plain cream cheese. I get it “to-go,” but I eat it there, and I use the bag as a placemat. No matter what changes in my life — with school, my friends or my love life — my daily stop at Bodo’s is one constant, always providing me comfort, joy and, of course, bagels.

The first time I gripped the bagel-shaped door handles of Bodo’s was the first Saturday of my first year on an outing with my hallmates. I don’t remember what I thought about the bagel, and I don’t remember where we sat. But I do remember that my soon-to-be best friends and I decided that the shop would become our Saturday breakfast spot.

This weekly excursion quickly became the highlight of my first year. At the time, I had yet to grasp the whole having-fun-in-life thing. I felt unjustified doing something if I was merely doing it to enjoy myself, so I spent most of my time doing — if not worrying about — schoolwork. Struggling to shake off the academic stress and existential contemplation of adolescence, Bodo’s offered me relief during weekends otherwise spent in the library.

During my second year, my visits to Bodo’s transformed from these Saturday morning trips into a daily ritual, becoming an unmissable part of my routine. Living behind the Corner my second, and now third, year, the aroma of fresh bagels has lured me into Bodo’s every time I’ve left the house.

To me, Bodo’s is less about the food and more about the people. I love to use “getting lunch at Bodo’s” as an excuse to catch up with a rotating cast of characters. My friends have gotten in the habit of texting on Sunday nights, asking when they can get on the Bodo’s schedule during the week. Some joke that it's my own version of office hours.

While they may seem silly, these little Bodo’s meet-ups have seen some of the most memorable moments of my closest friendships. I have consoled heartbroken friends through their sobs in the corner booths. I have laughed with hopeful friends about their situationships — maybe a little too loudly — on the outside patio. I have even attempted to help a friend through her obsession with the Bodo’s 24-oz Diet Coke.

Bodo’s has also spectated the progression of my love life. Throughout second year, Bodo’s was my go-to spot for first dates. I got a first impression of my dates with some small talk in line, and I observed if they said “please” and “thank you” to the cashiers. If a boy failed these preliminary tests — well, it doesn’t take too long to eat a bagel.

When my love life took a turn for the better last spring, Bodo’s was again a prime witness. I was sitting on the patio, rambling to my friend about this boy I had a crush on. Moments later, my crush walked into Bodo’s behind us, and we squealed. Just the other day, I told that same boy, who is now my boyfriend, that I felt like we hadn’t been to Bodo’s in forever. He corrected me that we had, in fact, been to Bodo’s the last six days in a row. 

One rainy afternoon in September, my Bodo’s routine took an unexpected turn. I was at Bodo’s alone — later than usual, so the noon-time rush had already died down. While I waited for my bagel, a man behind the counter smiled and asked me, “Hey, Plain on Plain, what’s your name?”

I laughed at the nickname. Naturally, the employees had caught onto my routine after two years of the same order at the same time every day.

Since that day, I’ve been on a first name basis with Major and Terrence, the guys at the counter who christened me “Plain on Plain.” These two have transformed mere pleasantries into a budding friendship. They ask me about my classes and friends, and I ask them about their families and hobbies. They have turned my daily “just plain on plain please” into cash-register chats that leave me smiling. Plus, my friends think it's hilariously fitting that the Bodo’s workers know my name.

Bodo’s is not only central to my life — it is a Corner staple for everyone at the University. I like to joke that Saturday morning on the Bodo’s patio is like Florence during the Renaissance — it's the hub of civilization. From fraternity brothers grabbing breakfast after stocking up at 7 Day to girls galavanting in their sundresses before darties, from alumni visiting Grounds with their toddlers to the resident “sign guy” and his antics, the entire University seems to revolve around the bagel shop. The seemingly unending line out the door contains all the energy and zest of the student body.

As I sit here writing in my favorite Bodo’s booth, I smile at all the things about this place that make me come back every day — the never-ending call of order numbers, the mural of Grounds covering the walls, the absurd amount of cream cheese they spread on every bagel … the list goes on. The sounds, sights and tastes of Bodo’s have become as essential to my college experience as discussion posts and fraternity parties.

I may spend my Saturdays on Mad Bowl instead of in Clem now, and I may not have to ditch first dates due to bad manners anymore, but my daily Bodo’s bagel, the employees’ bright smiles and the vibrant chatter on the patio haven’t changed a bit. A plain bagel with plain cream cheese is pretty boring to most people. To me, it's a daily excuse to go to one of my favorite places with my favorite people and soak up all that I love about this University.

Grace Scott is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com.

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