Fearless Friday II: Table for One

 

 

So this week I set out to conquer another stupid fear, eating alone in public.  Actually, I think this fear is made up of many fears…a fear of looking stupid, a fear of being judged, a fear of trying something different…

It’s not the “being alone” part that bothers me.  I love being alone.  It’s the being alone while people are watching.  I have this delusional issue where I think everybody is always watching me, waiting for me to screw up and look dumb.  It’s like paranoia meets narcissism.  In reality, nobody really even knows I exist…I’m pretty much invisible, easily forgettable and…blendy.  If that’s not a word, it should be.

Anyway, I decided to eat at Panera Bread, a soup shop in town.  I pulled into the parking lot and all sorts of thoughts raced through my mind.  Like, “What am I supposed to look at since nobody’s sitting across from me?”  and “Who’s going to tell me if I have a huge crumb on my face?” and “Would it be inappropriate to yell at someone else’s kids, since mine weren’t around?”  It’s a real crisis, you guys.

I walked in going for “mysterious” and “confident” which probably would’ve worked better if I hadn’t been staring at the ground all shifty-eyed.  I’m pretty sure I looked like a hand-shy dog that just peed in the corner.  It wasn’t too crowded, but my heart was palpitating as I approached the counter to order my food.

There were too many choices and I didn’t want to hold up the line so I blurted out the first thing my eyes landed on.

“Broccoli Cheese soup, please…the smallest size you have.”  I didn’t want broccoli cheese soup.

“Will you be eating here or is this carry out?”  She asked.

“Eating here.  Alone.  But I have…like…three friends, just so you know.”  I don’t think she cared.

She gave me a tea cup and a vibrator, (not the good kind) and told me to find a seat and the food would arrive shortly.  I took the cup and couldn’t find the hot tea.  See, this is what happens when I don’t have someone telling me where to go and how to get there.  I should NEVER be unsupervised.  I spend five minutes looking for the ever elusive hot tea, which turned out to be on the other side of the soft drink counter.  It was a stupid place for hot tea, but whatever.

I found a seat in a small two-person booth and settled in.  My blood pressure immediately lowered, my heart rate slowed to normal and my breathing resumed its normal pattern.

I looked up and all eyes were on me.  Okay, it was just one small child looking at me, but she was judging, I could tell.

A nice kid brought me the food I ordered and politely asked if there was anything else he could bring me.

“Oh,” I thought, “because I’m eating alone you think I need something?  That I’m somehow lacking something?”

He stood there in awkward silence.

“Or maybe he’s just doing his job.”

“No, I’m good, thanks.”  I finally answered.

He pretty much ran from my table, I’m thinking he sensed the crazy.

Anyway, I pulled out a brand new novel and ate in peace, enjoying the quiet space I had to just relax for a minute. And by “minute” I mean hour and a half.

Nobody looked at me, judged me, or gave the slightest crap what I was doing.  In fact, it wasn’t scary at all.  I have no idea why I didn’t try this sooner, all these years I’ve been missing out.

I’m calling this irrational fear officially “conquered” and moving it into the “possible addiction” category.

On to the next fear…

 

Advertisements

7 responses to “Fearless Friday II: Table for One

  1. You did it! Congrats! Panera is such a girly place too and very acceptable. I don’t mind eating alone contingent that it’s not one of those restaurants where there is approximately 2″ between the tables. I mean, they are so close you are literally having dinner with strangers. Once I stayed at a hotel in San Francisco called The Cliff. I went down to dinner only to be sat at a “community table” where complete strangers sat with you? This room cost $300/nt, I did not pay to eat at a commune.

    Like

  2. I used to have this fear too (pretty sure I had the same thoughts running through my head too) but now I’ll happily eat two course dinners on my own, with a glass of wine or martini on the side (and a good book on hand in case the food takes too long to come out). I still like eating out with friends, but sometimes I just don’t want to have to talk to people

    Like

    • Wine, books and not having to make small talk…sounds like how I imagine heaven will be! (Not that that’s where I’m heading) So how did you get over your fear?

      Like

  3. Well done you! 🙂 I love Panera!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s