You see them in coffee shops and restaurants…hunched over their plates not making eye contact as if the generic white plate has totally enchanted them. They could be reading a book or busy scribbling in a journal or texting/ talking on the cell phone.
One is a lonely number and I am fascinated by solitary diners. Really. I make up stories about them in my head and one time, just to experience this solitary situation, I ate lunch at Pine Street Cafe in my local Nordstrom and at the same time observed my fellow diners.
“Only one today?” asked the hostess sweetly. “Yes” I replied and felt like a few heads turned in my direction. Of course I made up stories in my head about them thinking thoughts like “Poor thing she is lonely”. But that was just me. I’m sure that to them I might have been a shopper who decided to take a load off and grab lunch, and just as quickly they went right back to their lunch and conversation.
I came prepared with a lined, yellow pad and pencil and already knew what I was going to order, being familiar with the menu. I set the scene…bag next to me on the seat, cell phone and yellow pad on the table. Once I had ordered I started writing on the pad beginning with “Today I am dining alone at a cafe…”. My writing was flowing and within a matter of minutes I was very comfortable. There were no stares coming my way and I rather grooved into this experience instead of feeling awkward.
Odd snippets of conversation drifted my way like how a maid of honor was humiliated by a Bridezilla friend to a young mother raving about her “gifted” child. The thing is when you are dining solitary you are free to soak in other conversations having no one to talk to and observe humanity. I love people-watching. It was a pleasant experience and I struck off one more item from my list of things to do alone.
But that was lunch. Dinner? Not that brave!