My big brother has been travelling across the US over the last couple of months – we met up with him in New York City before he left for Alaska, and he has been on the road since with a touring version of Fiddler on the Roof. Yesterday he flew in from Texas via Chicago, and I was supposed to pick him up at 6pm. He called to say they were delayed and so Tyler and I and my mom decided to head to the Royal Oak, a pub beside the park and fly, to grab a bite and wait for my brother to clear customs.
Even though he predicted a lengthy delay, he ended up calling us a few minutes after we ordered. We sat around looking at each other and I knew my mom wanted to see my brother the most, so I offered to stay so Tyler could wait in the car and she could run in to meet him.
They rushed out, and the server brought over my plate, asking if I still wanted to eat. Why not, I thought – I’m still hungry, and it’ll give me something to do!
It’s not that I don’t do things by myself – groceries, walks at the dog park, work in my house alone all day, even sip a glass of wine in a bar when Tyler is playing – but I can’t recall ever going out for a meal by myself, on purpose, not with the purpose of catching up, hanging out, or working on my laptop.
As I sat there, looking out the dusty window into the misty street glazed with fog and shimmering streetlight, it occurred to me that sitting there for awhile, unplugged for a change, all alone and away from distractions was not so bad at all. No cell phone, or book, just myself with my thoughts and the time to think through them. I worked my way through a plate of fish the size of my forearm and crispy chips and didn’t worry that people might be looking at me or thinking anything about me at all. I felt peaceful and I enjoyed it.
I have never gone to the movies by myself either – maybe I will try that next!