I was single until I was 38 years old, and lived on my own for about 18 years. While I didn’t eat much back then (I weighed 98 lbs at 38), I still enjoyed the occasional meal out. Back in those days, at least in the city where I was living for many of those single years, a single woman eating alone in a restaurant stood out like a sore thumb. The maitre d’s never knew what to do with me…once I ended up sitting at a teeny tiny table, clearly meant to hold condiments and cutlery, that was especially set up for me at the entrance to the massive salad bar. That meant that every single patron of the restaurant had to pass by my table in order to get their salad…I was in the way actually…and the only customer eating in that entire area. It was humiliating, and I’ve never been back to that restaurant or any of their hundreds of franchises since then.
These days, I think it’s easier and less conspicuous for single women to dine out alone without feeling like a fish out of water, or as if there’s a huge neon sign hanging over their heads blinking “Alone” “Pathetic” “Poor Dear” – well, forgive me if I’m projecting my own self-talk here…that’s certainly how I felt back then. I don’t anymore (well, still working on rewiring my attic actually…). And though I rarely eat out alone anymore, I do still treat myself to lunch out now and then, and still feel those old twinges of discomfort. So I’ve come up with a list of things to do while sitting alone at a table in a crowded restaurant. (I don’t have a smart phone, so it’s possible that for people who DO have one, this list is unncessary.)
Ten Things To Do While Waiting For Your Food When Eating Out Alone
1. Clean out your purse.
2. Read a book – easy to do these days if you have one of those e-Readers in your purse.
3. Count up all the spare change you found while cleaning out your purse.
4. Solve a sudoko or crossword puzzle (carry a small book of them in your purse, which you’ll find while cleaning out your purse)
5. Ask for crayons and a children’s placemat and colour. Maybe the placemat will have other puzzles to solve too. Always good to keep your brain in shape.
6. Go visit the ladies’ room to freshen up and comb your hair with the comb you found while cleaning out your purse.
7. Write a letter to a loved one on the napkin (do this only if you’re sure they’ll bring you another napkin though…some don’t…but I rarely eat in those kinds of places anymore.)
8. Pray…I do this…I don’t bow my head, so it probably looks like I’m talking to myself. But if I haven’t written a love note on my napkin, I can use the napkin to pretend that I’m wiping my mouth or hold it up to my face as if I’m about to sneeze…I can mutter quite a few mouthfuls of prayer behind that napkin. I do try to pray quietly, in my head, but sometimes my mouth just can’t help but join in.
9. Make lists – I made up this list while waiting for my fish and chips on Friday. Take your time, mull it over, it’s important stuff, so don’t rush it!
10. Sort through and review all of the other lists in your purse, which you found while cleaning out your purse, and tick off all the stuff you finished…and then rewrite ANOTHER list to include all of the unticked items on all of your other lists. Next time you find yourself sitting alone in a restaurant and cleaning out your purse, you’ll be glad you did!
I hope this helps. If you have a smartphone that allows you to access the Internet and play games, completely disregard this entire blog.
Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings Blogging The Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.