This past Saturday I took myself out to lunch. I’d like to say that it was nothing more than a simple treat on a rainy day, but it was actually my latest attempt to put off going to Macy’s to try and use the gift cards I received for Christmas in 2012.
Shortly after I arrived, a father and his two college-aged children sat at the table next to mine. I paid them very little attention until their three orders of chicken soup appeared and the father started making an incessant game show buzzer noise.
“In solidarity,” he said as he plucked the bread from each of the saucers and stacked the slices on the table. “Bread is the devil.”
Ten minutes later, when his daughter’s main course of two soft boiled eggs arrived with four slices of bread, he did the same thing.
Because I’m mature, I ordered a scone for dessert. When it was served with a side of clotted cream and marmalade, I knew that God himself was smiling down upon me. I smothered every inch of that toasted scone and relished in the fact that no one except me could dictate what was or wasn’t on my plate.
Because the man at the next table was equally mature, he responded by pretending to sneeze on his stack of bread. “There,” he said to his children. “Now you can’t eat it.” As though that had been unclear.
On my way out, as I was standing in the doorway still trying to talk myself into that trip to Macy’s, the man’s daughter walked by and asked me if I was waiting for the restroom. I was tempted to blurt out that a piece of bread – should she choose to eat it – won’t kill her. That there is no such thing as healthy or unhealthy foods – only healthy or unhealthy diets.
But I didn’t, because it’s actually none of my business. And because it would be hypocritical to suggest that someone eat something just because someone else urged them not to. And because for all I know, she thought about all of this already and decided a long time ago that she didn’t want to eat bread all on her own. One can hope, at least.
But since I’ve already written 400 words about someone else’s lunch, I’ll end with this: I’m happy that dad exists. With people like him around, I have no shame in eating alone.