Food for Thought

Mr. Michie is on a school trip this evening to the Globe Theatre, so I was on my own for dinner. I didn’t feel hungry today at work, so I skipped lunch and sat on a bench in the sunshine and read a delicious book.

I love reading and with my traveling too and from work at the moment, I am reading about a book a week. So, my reading pile is getting smaller and smaller, but I have plenty of books on my wish list that I want to get, so I will have more than enough books to keep me occupied.

I decided to get dinner out, since I was on my own. I ordered my food, found a table downstairs where I could sit and be. I listened to the great music that was blasting out of their speakers, read a couple pages of my book and munched away on my fries and cheeseburger.

I looked around, there were a few other people eating alone, but most people were with a partner or in a group. It’s funny that you seem to adopt a certain attitude when eating alone, you read something (I was, as I was almost at the end of a heart racing chapter in the political thriller, I’m reading), you play with your phone, you stare into space, you just eat and eat and don’t come up for air, only staring at your food. I saw all these things as I observed the people around me.

There is a certain vibe that it isn’t okay to eat alone, that something must be wrong if you are eating dinner alone, somehow you can swing it for breakfast and lunch, but dinner has different connotations. It made me think of Hope Floats, a great Sandra Bullock movie.

There is a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character, who is newly separated from her cheating husband an has moved back home to live with her mama, eats dinner alone at the local diner. Here, she encounters and old flame/friend in Harry Connick Jr., who is also eating alone. He tells her dining alone isn’t for sissies, you have to be made of some pretty stern stuff to do that, and the trick is to remain mysterious, like the choice is yours. And to really throw them off, you should order some dessert.

This scene always makes me smile. I am perfectly happy with me, with my own company. I would never judge someone for eating dinner alone, yet as I sat there tonight, it was interesting to see the looks I was getting for being alone as well as the other loners, we were looked at with a twinge of pity.

In so many ways, in society today, we are alone. Technology is a wonderful thing, but it keeps others at a distance in many respects. Yet, if you play with your phone or your laptop, you look all “official”, you look like you are working, too busy to stop and eat with someone, you are eating and working on the go, and that is okay, but to simply come and sit down, to be alright with you, eat your meal at a moderate pace and just be, there must be something odd about you. Or, at least that is how I felt tonight, it only toughened my resolve to just sit and “be” and gave me, pardon the pun, food for thought!