I much prefer eating with company than all alone. But sometimes I want to go out to eat and there’s not a soul available to join me.
Such was the case tonight. I was between activities and needed some nourishment. I get quite moody when I’m hungry. Think of that movie with the Gremlins. You weren’t supposed to feed them after midnight or they went nuts. Well, it’s just the opposite with me – if you don’t feed me, I go a little crazy. I’m not a fast-food kind of person. In fact, I’m a big fan of the Slow Food movement, but that’s another story. Needless-to-say, I wanted something quick (as I had another appointment to get to) but light and healthy and delicious. My first choice was closed, so I went to a Japanese place I’d wanted to try for quite some time. I tried to open what I thought was the main door. It was locked even though the sign indicated they were open. I was a little mystified until a woman came around the corner and told me the entrance was a little further along and to follow her. She complimented my outfit, I lamented about the rain, we laughed at my confusion about the side door. The warm greeting she received when we walked in told me she’d been to this place before. Our hostess eagerly told us about the specials before we even sat down. As she went to take her seat, I asked if she was alone. She said she was and we decided to join each other.
She said this wasn’t the first time she’d done this. It wasn’t mine either. She had just come back from a trip to Sante Fe where she paired up with a single woman in line behind her at a restaurant. I once sat down at my favorite restaurant in Boston and started chatting with the single girl at the table next to me. After a few minutes, she joined me. I’ve also met plenty of interesting people while eating alone on consulting trips and while traveling around Europe.
We bonded over our notion that just because you have no one to dine with doesn’t mean you should not go out. We talked about how you meet a lot of interesting people when you do things alone. She said when she first saw me she thought I was coming to meet a blind date. This made sense when she told me about her most recent on-line dating experiences – the modern-day version of a blind date. She knew much more about Japanese food than I did and recommended the best dish I’ve ever had in such a place. Our gracious and bubbly hostess offered us a free appetizer, but our food arrived just as she made the offer to us.
My new friend is a self-employed graphic designer. Oh how I love meeting other folks working for themselves. She’s been at it for four years, and shared some words of wisdom with me.
I was disappointed I didn’t have more time to spend with her. We exchanged cards, though, and I have a feeling we’ll meet again.
I must admit that I was not prepared for my 7pm engagement tonight. I had debated about spending the hour before it preparing, but wisely opted to fill my stomach instead. And it definitely was the right choice. I got to my 7pm appointment only to realize I was more prepared than I thought I was. It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned that when in doubt feeding a hunger is better than feeding your stress. As usual, God provided: good food, a new friend, and a wonderful evening.