Today I tried to temp three different co-workers into having lunch with me. Its gray outside and I just felt like sitting down and having a relaxing meal. It turned out that they were too busy or already had plans.
Eating alone is something I’ve become used to. It’s part of living my life on the perimeter (i.e. being single in my 40s). I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. I generally have a book, magazine, or my iPad close by to keep me company.
In times past, to avoid eating alone, I’ve resorted to the shameless tactic of “offering to pay”. I seriously don’t know why I’ve resorted to this…it has pitiful written all over it. But I rest easy because I know I can’t be the only person who has ever tried to bribe a friend to hang out with them.
As the years have passed, I’ve become used to the idea of eating alone. So, today I bit the bullet and found a dark quiet restaurant for lunch. Luckily I had the June issue of Alaska Magazine in my car. There was just enough unread material in the magazine to keep me from dwelling on the fact that once again I was my own company.
And, as frequently happens when I venture out by myself…the waitress informs me that she grew up in Alaska too. Between serving me my meal and the check, we had a quick laugh about a photo in the magazine that was obviously mislabeled. I told her I might write the editor and fill them in on their error. In the end, I gave her the magazine to read and we exchanged contact information. She wanted me to let her know if my note to the editor ended up getting published.
I find eating alone (traveling alone, etc.) often leads to unexpected interactions. There is no way I would have met a fellow Alaskan had one of my co-workers been with me. I think being alone makes me more approachable.