Why is eating alone at a restaurant so hard?Does it signify that you are a loser or don’t have any friends?
Eating alone at a public place for me has always been a taboo.People who sit alone in the café booth, starring out the window while holding a coffee cup were lonely people; people to feel sorry for because they didn’t have anyone to go to lunch with.
If I didn’t have a lunch buddy, then my choices were to do the drive through and eat at my desk, go home and make a PB&J sandwich or the convenience store entrée of Diet Pepsi and a bag of Doritos.
The thought had occurred to me more than once as I have found myself alone more often than accompanied; I may be the lone booth occupant at Taco Johns!
And that is exactly what happened to me.A few weeks ago I attended an out-of-state conference.After traveling all day, I arrived at my hotel absolutely starving; starving to the point of not caring that I didn’t have a dinner date.I contemplated room service or even ordering a pizza to be delivered, but really felt like a meal at a table, being waited on and a nice glass of wine…OK buck up…it was time to go solo.
My hunger pangs did not entirely make my oneness at ease.As I entered the hotel diner and approached the waitress, I saw her look beyond my shoulder, looking for one more… “A booth, for one,” I heard myself bravely say.
Once seated with the seclusion of the booth and the menu to ponder over, I began to feel a bit better.A glass of wine 10 minutes later and I was much better.However, there was the waiting time between the order taking and the food arriving that leaves one wondering what to do.This is the time where you and your date would chat about the day or gossip about the lady at the table by the door.I hadn’t been smart enough to grab a book or the newspaper to pour over, just my phone, which after checking multiple times, I grew bored with and bravely put away.
It was time to face the room; the crowd of diners who were enjoying their meal and conversation, the waiters and hostess, the cooks and bus boys…did they all think I was a loser with no friends?The restaurant was not crowded, a few tables of doubles, one family and…two other professional looking people…eating alone!I had company!
My meal was good and as I ate my chicken pot pie, I forced myself to eat slowly, enjoy the wine and just people watch.As self conscious as I was, no one seemed to be noticing me.Even my waiter was a bit lax in refilling my water glass.Maybe I didn’t stick out as a lone wolf.
Dining alone is not my choice, I’d rather have a friend to share this time with, but in a pinch, I can enjoy my own company.This is another step in my new life of being single and learning to be independent and like it.