Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, May 09, 2009

first "solo" dinner out

whenever my mom and i would hang out and we would leave my dad home alone he would almost always go out for dinner while we were gone instead of eating what my mom left for him.

whenever my father-in-law would get tired of cooking he would go out to dinner by himself and enjoy a nice meal alone.

well...if the two most important men in my life can do it i should be able to do it...right?

i decided that on saturday night when all the kids were doing this and that i would go out for something to a restaurant and not a curb-side pick-up or drive thru.

i was not quite ready for a cozy italian or loud steakhouse or a place where i had to deal with a waitress so i picked the next best thing: panera bread

i walked in and it didn't seem too busy so i placed my order and went and found a nice booth (with my PSU agricultural newspaper in hand). i looked around and to my surprise the 7 tables around me all had a single (as in alone) person in them...i must have hit the jackpot and found the singles restaurant...oh goody!!

i also noticed that the 7 tables around me that had the single person in them ALL had a laptop. i was the only person in the entire area with a print newspaper (fred would be proud). i actually started to laugh...boy did i feel old!!! not because everyone in there was so young but because not only did i not bring a laptop...i don't own a laptop!!! and if i did own a laptop i don't think i would have thought to take it to dinner with that odd???

i was sorta wishing that i was now at the olive garden with the waiter asking me if i wanted a refill of my drink for the 4th time.

all in all it was an enlightening first dinner out...i guess i need to either buy a laptop and eat at a "wi-fi" or else buy a good book and go "no wi-fi". the nice part about panera was that not one person ever looked up from the computer to even notice that i had sat down...and that meant they didn't notice my ever so slight glances in their direction wondering what was so important on a saturday night that they would have to be working on it in a public place.

one had papers spread out all over the table...she was working

one had headphones on and was obviously listening to music...doesn't he know IPODS are much smaller and easier to tote around.

one had been checking her e-mail

one looks as though he was writing a paper for work or school

one was on the phone the entire time i was there

i wonder if any of them even know what they had for supper that night.

what a different generation...feeling old

i did OK for the first time out alone since tim passed. i am (obviously) a people watcher and enjoy just sitting and observing but it does seen kinda odd eating alone. i sit there and think of something and have no one to tell it to....and these days if i don't say it when i think is gone for good!!!

so...for all of you "singles" out there for whatever reason if you have any good advice for me in these early days of dining alone please pass them on. it kinda freaks the kids out when i tell them i want to go grab a bite to eat alone and they offer to go along or fix me something here...but i don't want them to always think i need one of them with me...i want to be more independent and i want them comfortable with letting me.

another slow process.

thanks for checking in



Blogger Wendy said...


I am proud of you! If you ever want someone to talk to, I am always here. I think of you often and I am sure each step is not easy.

Love, Wendy

May 12, 2009 8:24 AM  
Blogger Katie Dewalt said...

Welcome to the "at-first-it's-weird-but-soon-becomes-comfortable" world of eating out by oneself.

Since I don't have kids at home anymore, I probably---nah!---most definitely eat out more than the average bear.

I am an accomplished breakfast, lunch and dinner solo diner, and I specialize in coffee and a snack or pastry at Starbutt's or Peet's.

I like to stop after shopping and have a hamburger at Red Robin (although not having anyone to share the endless fries is kinda' wasteful.) I guess they don't really care if I waste food...just as long as I paid for it.

Sometimes, after church on Sundays, I take my Bible (there's nuthin' like an omelette and the Book of John) or my current book (just finished "The Year of Fog") and go to Carrows or Bakers Square for waffles and eggs, etc.

I take a small booth...which probably makes me look less "alone" but if I end up in a full size...that's all the more room I have to spread out.

I try to be very considerate of my wait-person, so he or she feels somewhat appreciated. I leave a decent tip and one or two compliments---or occasionally a suggestion. [like "perhaps the coffee could be a bit stronger..] the waitresses tell me that the restaurant makes the coffee to the preferred strength of their senior diners. H-m-m-m! I'm a senior, but I like my coffee to have some flavor, not "brown water with a hint of Juan Valdez."

I like to watch the people coming and going and observe the dining "struggles" of young families. (It takes me back to when we'd eat out and the food didn't come right away...Christy would get squirmy, like she had a colony of ants in her pants. Shelli would complain that Christy embarrassed her.) We didn't have the moolah to go out often, so it was a pain in the neck when they acted up.

Now I sit and gently smile at crabby parents and misbehaving kids like a benevolent ruler overseeing her subjects.

There have also been times when I set out to eat and just didn't feel like I wanted to be "The Lone Diner...Hi-Ho, Silverware!" So I order my food to-go and enjoy it at home with the TV on and Marvin, Martini, Thai and Dominic lined up staring at me like they haven't eaten in weeks.

One of the things that was the hardest for me when Ron died was to sit at our table when his place was empty. Eating out solved that and my kids insist we ate out constantly. I don't remember, but I was in a "haze" for three years, so maybe we did.

All that to say, even though eating out alone is not usually what one would choose---given the option to dine with family or friends---it does become more comfortable and in some even preferable!
Love from your long-winded and/or wordy Aunt Katie

May 12, 2009 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tammy! I have lots of good books that you are more than welcome to. I don't own a laptop, either. There was a time when I was dining out alone and a good book was always great company! Let me know if you need a good read. Kathy Powell

May 12, 2009 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep! You and Aunt Katie co-authoring the book with a chapter on "Firsts" with a side title "Dining Out".

Having been single for a long time, I usually did the carryout thing. However, many people dine alone in this day and age; in fact, it is rather common with or without a laptop.

Go for it and enjoy! Always remembering you in prayer.

Louis and Martha

May 12, 2009 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 1st eat-out-alone was @ a Ponderosa Steak House. I felt awkward @ first even with reading material in hand. After all was said and done, My world hadn't caved in. I felt I accomplished something for myself. Than I would go to a Buffet. Now a feel comfortable to go into any resturant by myself...Because, sometimes.....I just like to be waited on..LOL...


May 13, 2009 5:19 PM  

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