Today all my kids are in school all day for the first time. My little one had his first full day of school today as he just entered the first grade. After I dropped him off from school I decided to hit some garage sales. Now garage sales are not just for fun for me. Since I have a used book business it is also work for me.
So I am out doing my garage and I am listening to an audio book in my car as I am driving to various sales. In the audio book one of the characters was ordering and eating Chinese food. Suddenly that idea I had for a nice healthy salad at home went right out the door. The craving for Chinese food over whelmed me. Finally it was time for lunch and I was getting really hungry so I stopped at this sit down Chinese restaurant that was close to where I was.
As I told the guy who greeted me, “Just 1,” I realized I had not really eaten in a sit down restaurant by myself in probably 14 years since my first child was born and even before that almost never. I had forgotten what an odd feeling it was.
I ordered my food and then headed to the washroom which was kind of essential since there are no washrooms out in garage sale land. I came back to the table and looked at that little place mat they put on the table that tells you what you are in Chinese years. I happen to be a snake, which according to this place mat means that I am romantic and intelligent. That got a smile out of me. Then since I had plenty of time to kill and nobody to talk to I read my husband’s animal which was a goat and laughed at how right on the the little blurb was about him. Then I realized that it is not really cool to laugh while you are sitting by yourself in a sit down restaurant people might think your crazy. Then I read my daughters, and both my sons. Still no food.
Being a person who always has to be busy I start going through my purse just for something to do. Thinking to myself I should have brought something to read.
As if to emphasise that I was eating alone the owner of the restaurant comes over and says hello, then he asks if I am eating alone, and I said “Yes”, but what I really wanted to say is, “Yes, I have no friends and nobody loves me, thanks for pointing that out.” Of course that is not true I was just hungry and wanted some Chinese food and I happened to be alone.
Then he removes the unused placemat from the other side of the table and puts it on another nearby table that already had the appropriate amount of placemats. Why do they do that when you are dining alone? Are they worried you might accidentally soil the clean place mat you are not using? Do they think I will be offended by a piece of paper sitting across me? Perhaps they think that looking at it will make me sad because I have no one to dine with.
The bit of puzzlement about the movement of the place mat at least distracted me for a few moments. Why does it seem like it takes forever for the food to arrive when you are eating alone? In reality I am sure it didn’t take any longer than it did when I was eating with someone but while alone it seemed like hours.
I became like a dog ultra alert at every sound. Every sound that came from the kitchen area got my attention as I hoped and prayed it was my food, perhaps I even did that little involuntary thing dogs do when they think they are getting some food, moving my tongue about my mouth as if to control my salivary glands. Finally it came and it was quite good.
I don’t know if I will eat alone in a sit down restaurant again, it was just too awkward and I was way too bored. At least I didn’t try to over compensate like the other person who was dining in there alone by talking really loud on my cell phone, as if to say, “I am an important person, I am not a lonely person, see I have people to talk to, don’t you hear me talking to people?” At least his loud conversation stopped the owner from coming over and moving the unused place mat from his table.