When I went for fro-yo the other day, I parked next to a woman who was eating her yogurt while sitting in her car. That wouldn’t normally be noteworthy, but it happened to be about 110° with the heat index at the time and she was parked in the sun. I couldn’t help but wonder why she wouldn’t sit inside or even outside on the patio, where there was at least a breeze. (Of course, if she’d sat at the outside table, then I wouldn’t have had anywhere to sit except inside where the a/c was set on frostbite.)
She was still sitting there, dabbing her forehead with her napkin in between bites, when I came outside to enjoy my fro-yo and the gift of the cool-ish breeze at the perfectly vacant outdoor table. Since I’d left my book at home (hate when that happens) and there was no one else around with whom I could strike up a conversation, I didn’t have anything to do except ponder why in the heck this poor woman was sitting in the broiling sun eating melted fro-yo.*
(a) simply (and inexplicably) enjoy suffocating heat and humidity?
(b) be waiting for an important call and her cell phone is plugged into her car charger?
(c) have returned to the car to grab her book and gotten stuck to the leather seat?
(d) have stumbled/fallen and broken her leg/ankle/knee, dragged herself back to the car, and was headed to the ER right after she finished her fro-yo?
(e) be uncomfortable dining/snacking alone?
While I suppose (a) is a possibility, my money is on (e) – didn’t want to sit at a table by herself. Many people, women especially, have a thing about dining alone in restaurants. I’m thinking that could carry over to fro-yo shops.
Since I eat 80-90% of my meals alone, I clearly have no issue with sitting in a restaurant by myself. Quite a few of my friends do, however, and despite my
nagging coaching will opt for drive-thru, convenience store, room service or vending machine if put in a situation where they have to eat out and they’re alone. Even after I wrote an entire blog post about this very subject with helpful tips and everything, I haven’t managed to convert even one of them!**
While I appreciate that we’re all different and most of us have one or more things that make us uncomfortable, dining out alone seems to be one that would be possible to overcome. For me, it’s a great opportunity to read a bit, or people-watch, or strike up conversations with new-to-me people. Or sometimes, I just let my mind wander over whatever topics it wants (like why someone would choose to sit in an Easy-Bake Oven to eat her yogurt) while I savor my meal or snack. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with one of my favorite people–ME!
Do you avoid dining out alone? Do you have any tips to help those who might want to overcome their discomfort with doing so? I offered my tips in Table for One, but there’s a 99-100% chance I missed something.
*Oh, I know, I could have thought about a hundred other topics, but human behavior (mine included) intrigues me.
**Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as brilliant as I remember.