Monday, April 10, 2006
Party of One
I live alone, so I’ve learned to do a few things by myself without giving it a second thought. I’ve gone to the movies by myself, out to a few events alone and I’ve even gone out to eat without any company. That’s right, I’ve reached the stage in my life where I’m able to dine alone in public. I’m not saying that this is something I look forward to, but it’s not something I run from either. But there are times when it annoys me. Like a few years ago when I went to IHOP after church. I went to church solo, so I went to the restaurant alone as well. I put my name down and the hostess called out, “Strength/Courage/Wisdom, party of one?” Everyone in the waiting area turned toward me, probably thinking, ‘That poor soul! How pitiful! Eating all alone!” I wanted to slam the hostess’ head into a wall.
This past Sunday, things were the same. I went to church by myself and there is an IHOP practically next door. There is something about praising the Lord that makes my mouth water for pancakes (you know what I’m talking about, right Dee-Dee? =). The waiting room was packed and I had no choice but to squeeze in between between a screaming kid and a family of three, which didn’t know about boundaries of personal space. I didn’t think about my previous embarassment until the hostess got on the mic and said, “Bauza, party of five?” “Patterson, party of four?” “Stewart, party of three?”
Great, I thought, she’s gonna put my business on the street. I stared at the floor and prepared for the worse. I scanned the crowd. No one else was alone and for a split second, I considered joining one of their tables. There was the pregnant teen-age girl with her tattooed boyfriend, the overweight couple with the matching Harley-Davison T-shirts or the group of rowdy teen-age boys that kept saying ‘paaaaaancakes, man. Paaaaaaancakes.’ I knew then that I preferred my company to anyone else there. And if I got sad looks when I was seated, who cares? I’m good company. Even if it is only for myself.
The hostess looked like she wanted to say more, but she stopped. I was so grateful that I could have kissed her. Instead, I followed my waitress to the back and prepared to order.