I enjoyed a nice meal alone at a local restaurant this evening. As I ate I was reminded of my sister's questions about the act of dining in solitude at restaurants.
"Wait, how on earth do you go to a restaurant all by yourself?" she’d ask whenever she found out I'd dined alone. "Just what do you do?"
"What do you mean?" I said. "I eat."
"How do you eat? All alone and all that?"
I've never understood how she has never understood that eating was not originally designed to be a communal experience. I assume that the lone neanderthal man speared a deer and relished the animal all by himself. I believe he pierced coconut husk, threw the nut on a rock and sank his teeth into jagged flesh. Things obviously got complicated as men and women got cliquish, learned social graces and laid down rules and etiquette. However, the simple act of eating itself was a quid pro quo arrangement between man, an implement (hand or fork or spoon or chopstick or ladle) and his mouth.
My sister told me that she could not fathom how I hammered, to rudimentary nothings, the act of eating alone at a public place. "Like, how do you just sit at a table all by yourself? What do you do?"
"I read. I look at my iPhone or my iPad. Sometimes, I might type into my laptop. Oh, I also love to people watch,” I explained while she looked on with what I might only describe as slack-jawed wonder.
"It’s no big deal," I told her. "I'm busy most of the time anyway."
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