Sunday, September 4, 2011

Table for One Please

That was fun.  OK, maybe fun is the wrong word.  It was interesting.  Nah, still the wrong word.  Let's see.  Liberating.  Yes, that might fit.  Or maybe just my new "normal".  Dining alone.  I have never really had a problem with it - well not since I turned 30 anyway.  Prior to that, I was not likely to seek it out.  My awesome amazing 17 year old daughter on the other hand does it regularly whenever the mood strikes her - she soooo impresses me with her independence and confidence that way - so unlike me at that age.

Anyway - back to dining alone.  I came home from work tonight, kinda tired, did not feel like cooking or going to the gym or anything that might be remotely good for me, so I cracked open a nice bottle of chardonnay and had a couple of glasses and enjoyed my view and some nice thin slices of parmigiana reggiano.  Well, that was a nice warm-up, so after reading a few passages from The Book of Awakening, I figured since I was still dressed, I would go out for dinner on my  own.  I was really craving some red meat.  I was pretty sure I could get a decent meal at this place near me as I have had some nice fish there and surely they could do a good grill job on some cow for me as well. 

So, I saunter over there - it's just kitty-corner to my building, a bit of a happening spot really, but on the Sunday night of  a long weekend - pretty quiet.  I am told it is wild there on Thursday nights, but knowing that, I will avoid that night.  Not into wild right now.  Anyway, I digress.  So the hostess seats me in a nice private quiet corner booth which is perfect since I wanted to read and as I got comfy, I read the menu (had to pull the candle over as it was so dim), was all decided and then I waited, and waited, and waited.  So then I start thinking no one was informed that I was there and I am getting impatient cause now I am really hungry and so I get this brilliant idea to phone the restaurant and tell them I am ready to order and could they please send a waiter over to my table.

Of course, I have to dial 411 to get the number and they don't understand me, so I have to wait for a live operator and by the time I go through all that, the waitress finally arrives at my table, whereupon I tell her I was just trying to call her.  She is not amused.  Hey, I thought it was pretty clever actually - so now I am getting a bit of a defensive attitude from her, but instead of giving it back to her, I say "hope you did not think I was being a bitch by saying that" and that sort of softened her up a bit, but not enough to bend on the prix fixe menu (I only wanted the main course, not the appy and dessert) so I said OK then - just bring me an appy, and I will have a taste and I will let you know later if I want the dessert.  I order a nice Australian Shiraz to go with my herb-crusted beef tenderloin and she departs.

I like my little dark corner.  It is almost too dark.  So I use the candle-light to read  my book while I wait for my wine to arrive and it works pretty well - not ideal, but doable.  I look up and take in the surroundings.  It is a newish place, so modern and minimalistic, 12 globe light fixtures hanging from a high ceiling at varying sizes and heights, sort of like a high school science project of the planets without Saturn's rings.  I wondered if the designer did 12 on purpose to emulate the zodiac.  Possible but not likely. 

My third glass of wine is kicking in nicely now - just about the same time it starts to pour outside.  I can see it coming down out the window next to me.  It is romantic and dark and wet and they  have some blue twinkly lights strung in the trees out on the patio and it makes me think of Christmas and that is one place I really do not want to go tonight, so I shift my gaze back to my book and continue reading Mark Nepo and his infinite wisdom and delicious philosophizing and think "this is the kind of book I would like to write."  The three glasses of wine convince me it would be a breeze and so I jot down a few things as I read his passages.

Some of them are so poignant, I feel a need to share them, so I text a couple quotes to some friends as they seem appropriate to their current situations. I also admit my dietary and financial irresponsibility to one friend as I decide to accept the trio of assorted gelato with fresh raspberries after all.  (It was included  - how could I say no?)  I savour every bit of this heavenly bowl of cool, creamy frozen Italian answer to joy and joke with the waitress when she picks up my empty dish telling her it was horrible and I want to send it back.  By now, she is warming up to me and she delivers my leftover dinner in a nice take-away container and this is how I justify my extravagant night out - it was two meals really.  Now I have lunch or dinner all ready for tomorrow.

The rain has eased a bit as I head for the exit and the waitress thanks me and refers to me as "my good lady" and for a moment I wonder if I am actually living in medieval England, or if Jack the Ripper will be waiting outside for me in a dark alley, but it is just a passing thought and I step out into the mist, the rain has stopped and the warm late summer night has the tiniest hint of cool to it and a hint of autumn in the air, and I feel content and OK, really OK.

I can do this. I really can.  I just did.

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