On a humid August night, I walked into a restaurant that was new to me (The Garden Bar on 6th). There were only two other guests in the building, but the sign said Please wait to be seated. So I did. The gal came over and asked how many were in my party. “Just one,” I said quietly. My boys were off on a trip back to Harvey, ND so I was in my own tonight. Truth be told, I don’t love to cook. I love to bake things or make desserts, but I’m not a great cook. So when I’m home alone, it’s either cereal, eggs or left overs. I thought I’d try something new. As I scrolled through my phone, I glanced at the menus. I ordered a Minnescato Mule (like a Moscow Mule, but with a local Miscato and rhubarb syrup). I’m not a “foodie,” but in the spirit of trying new things, I had a kale summer salad with berries, candied pecans, pecan crusted chicken and a maple vinegarette. I made a point to look at my waiter when he came by – instead of being shy and embarrassed of being alone, I paused what I was doing and paid attention. As the copper mug condensated on the table, I slowly enjoyed my salad. When I was finished, he appeared again and asked if I’d like dessert. (See previous post about pie.. 😉). “Yes,” I said. “What do you have?” He looked surprised that I had agreed to it and he read off the 3 items on their dessert menu. The first one was a blueberry rhubarb bread pudding. Mmm. No more needed to be said. I love bread pudding for some reason and Cameron isn’t a fan. “Yes, the bread pudding sounds great, thank you.” I went back to my phone, pausing to look out the window or watch for new people coming in. The other two had left and soon more groups appeared… 2 guys who made it clear that they were not on a date, a group of 4 ladies who were there for a “birthday club,” (even though it wasn’t anyone’s birthday- they just like to get together once a month), and a group of young ladies. As I waited for my dessert, the restaurant got busier and the sound of conversations drowned out the music. Then it arrived. Warm blueberry rhubarb bread pudding with ice cream on top. It was amazing. After a couple of bites of the warm pudding with a prefect crunch top, I figured I’d better photograph this. I am not a food critic but this was really good.
As I left the restaurant, I started thinking about my first statement… “just one.” Just… like it wasn’t ok that I was there alone. I almost felt the need to explain myself, but I didn’t. The thing is, as an introvert, I need this kind of time to recharge my batteries. I don’t do it much, but I do feel more refreshed when I’ve had a little time alone, to regroup. I feel like it makes me a better mom, wife, co-worker when I’ve had some “me time.” There was a time in my like where I would have laughed at that term. Me time?! What is that? Nobody has time to be alone, there is too much to do. Yeah, there is, but it will still be there. The peas were still waiting in my garden to be picked. While my supper delay made me a feast for hungry mosquitoes (they get worse at dusk), the peas were still there and they still got picked. And, while I was picking peas and being a mosquito buffet, I started thinking about writing. Sometimes I catch myself thinking in “story lines”… testing out my blog ideas in my head. Will that be a good enough story? Is that interesting enough? Enough, enough, enough. Yes. It will be. Because someone else is eating alone tonight and they also said “just one.” And I want them to know that’s ok. Whatever your reason, it’s alright. If you are lonely though and don’t want it to be just one, I hope you’ll chat up the waiter or waitress. You might be the only person tonight that treats them like a person and not a servant or an after thought. If you need that time to recharge and refresh, I hope you take it. I hope you are able to enjoy a peaceful evening (or lunch or whatever). I wish you peace on your journey of enough. The kind of peace that comes from a recharge (and a really good bread pudding.)