by Heidi WillbanksPhoto by Bill Dickinson
I know people who refuse to eat alone at restaurants. They say it's because they think people will look at them funny, or they'll feel lonely and insecure. I, for one, have never seen someone alone at a table and thought, "What a loser. Nobody wants to eat with them." For the most part, the people I see eating by themselves appear to be travelers or professionals stopping to relax and have a bite to eat. But really, it's none of my business why they are unaccompanied, so I try to refrain from judgement.
Sometimes I take myself out when I'm working long hours or on a leisurely day off. Last Friday, I spent my lunch hour at a nice restaurant near my office. It had been a tough week. I had worked hard, juggling multiple projects and tight deadlines, and the stress was starting to wear on me. I felt I deserved to treat myself. So I walked in, got seated at a table with a view, and enjoyed a good meal, a bottle of Pellegrino and an hour of serenity.
It was nice sitting there, enjoying the cumulative buzz of chatter, silverware and ambient music. As I munched on my turkey sandwich, I gazed out the window at passersby with dogs, strollers and shopping bags, and felt thankful that I was not out there with them, running around and getting things done. Sated and relaxed, I returned to the office for the last half of the last day of an unbelievably hectic week.
There is something liberating about dining out alone. Maybe it isn't for everyone, but sometimes I find peace in a table for one.