Monday, February 16, 2015

I Ate Lunch Alone Yesterday...

...which wasn't the point.

I had arranged lunch with two friends from Grad School. It's often difficult to get everyone together, and for a long span - years, really - we just barely exchanged Facebook or e-mail communications. 

Life being brief, we thought that it was important to rekindle the face-to-face get-togethers. 

So I scheduled one. 

But I ate lunch alone. 

I arrived early, as is my wont, and was seated at a lovely table, with my back to the sun. It was cold yesterday, and I felt it more than usual for some reason. 

Now, normally, when I go somewhere alone, I always have something with me. I either carry a book, my Kindle, knitting - something. I have no games on my phone - I dislike computer games anyway. 

But since I was meeting friends, I brought nothing but the delayed Christmas gift for one of them. (Which gift has now been set aside for next year - because it's silly to give a Christmas gift in June...) So I sat in the sun and waited for them. About 10 minutes after our appointed time, I texted both of them asking if they'd forgotten. 

I got a "holy crap" message from one, saying she totally spaced on it since she's been in the midst of a massive kitchen/dining room renovation. I didn't hear from the other one for a while, though she did text later to tell me she also had forgotten and was out of town.

I signaled the waitress, who looked vaguely pitying, and said, "Well, looks like I've been stood up. But I'm hungry, so I'll order lunch now." 

I haven't been to lunch with myself in a long, long time. The restaurant is a quaint one which is very popular with the locals. There was a foursome in the corner discussing their recent viewing of "Fifty Shades of Grey," a couple having a quiet lunch, and a large party along the back of the facility, complete with kids. After a while, a foursome of ladies was seated next to me. The eldest of the group had a Manhattan - in a blue stemmed glass (don't ask me why; I thought Manhattans were served in a stubby glass) and one of the younger ones mentioned that it looked like "witches' potion" in there - which it did!

I did text Hubby telling him that since I'd held the table for so long, I was eating there, and that, yes, I wasn't happy.

And I wasn't. I felt embarrassed. Flashbacks to high school momentarily entered my 57-year-old brain. I felt like the uncool kid. 

Then I thought: "You're an idiot."  I'm a yogi. I've been studying meditation for years now. I'm supposed to embody the idea of "I can amuse myself." And here I was, feeling sorry for me. 

Well. I sat up straight, glanced about the place and proceeded to discretely people-watch. And I ate lunch. Which wasn't too bad, though the corn salsa on the crab cakes was way, way too hot for me. So much for the "mild remoulade and salsa" description on the menu. And it was a Sunday afternoon, so the prices were mildy heart-attack inducing. I should stick to the weekday lunch menu there for the sake of my pocketbook.

I did eat the stick of pretzel bread. But I skipped dessert, feeling more than a little virtuous. And stuffed - I'd been eating extremely light lately, and frankly, by the salad, I was close to full. I brought home most of it, which I ate for dinner. 

Anyway, what have we learned, kids? 

Well, I could say "always carry something along with you." 

But I don't think that's the point. The actual point is that it's ok to be alone with yourself. It's ok to lift your head from your screen or your book and not be tied to outside amusements. It's ok at some point to really sit with yourself and not give a lamb's hind leg about whether people even NOTICE that you're sitting by yourself. Or even to care whether they do notice and feel sorry for you. Burying your nose in a book isn't awful. Though you can't eat and knit... But sitting and noticing what's around you is not all that bad.

Really. We talk about being mindful a lot in my world. We talk about noticing what our bodies are doing. We talk about watching our very breath. 

And then I have a small melt-down about being stood up for lunch. Jeeze. Shame on me. 

Or rather, let's skip the shame, much like I skipped dessert. Shame isn't good for you. Rather, let's have a talk with our inner self saying that it's ok - more than ok, actually - to just be by yourself for lunch. 

Occasionally, it's absolutely fine to have lunch with your best friend: yourself. 

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