Alone in a Restaurant
I’m sitting alone in Cognac, a French restaurant in Hells Kitchen. I’m drinking a glass of Beaujolais Blanc and waiting for a very French sounding tart. It’s 6.50 on a Friday night. I don’t often find myself without company in a public place, in a restaurant. I’m usually careful to craft my days so that I’m at work, spending time with friends or staying in at home. Somehow my day conspired against me, a 6 o’clock meeting took me away
from the office, my dinner date canceled and my next engagement starts at 8. I have an hour to fill without the assistance of social connections. I suppose I could have gone to a coffee shop, or the library, or that gallery opening. Or any other number of places less conspicuous. I could have avoided the appraising looks from the gentlemen at the next table, the obnoxious conversation going on beside me. But I have a habit of placing myself in situations that make me feel distinctly uncomfortable. A healthy habit of expanding my comfort zone, or just plain self flagellation? I don’t know. I feel very Jekyll and Hyde about this situation: it’s a little sad to be abandoned by friends, but it’s liberating to eat in a restaurant without worrying about keeping up a conversation or
finagling over a split bill. I can read, write, check my phone, people watch, stare out the window. Etiquette is only appropriate for tables of two. For a brief moment I’m outside
the parameters of social niceties. And even though it feels awkward, it’s really not that bad.