I’ve been part of quite some awkward experiences in my almost 21 years on this earth. I have fallen while wearing stilletos, ripped my jeans during drama class and at one point while I was 10 years old I even threw-up in the classroom. I always get myself into abnormal situations or happen to make things very uncomfortable. This week was no exception. While I didn’t particularly do anything to make things awkward my experience though was very unnerving. If you feel like laughing I would recommend that you’d read on.
On Thursday morning, while I was taking the train to visit my grandparents, I realized that pretty much my entire week was fully booked. I would have to work two more days and today I’m at a family gathering. While realizing this it came to mind that this would not leave much room for any solo activities. I started contemplating what I would be able to do after I went to my grandparents because that would simply be the most convenient time. Slowly it started to dawn on me that going out to eat really was one of the only options. The idea of me by myself in a restaurant put a chill through my spine. Going to the movies turned out to be fine because the room was dark pretty much the entire time and as soon as the lights went back on I would have the opportunity to bolt if I wanted to. When I was in the Zoo I was never surrounded by the same people for more than three minutes max. But the idea of sitting at a table, by myself having a group of people or a couple sitting next to me (not sure which scenario bothers me most) unnerved me so much that while realizing that this pretty much was my only option I started feeling a little sick.
As the day went by I tried to not think about it too much. I visited my grandparents and had an amazing time but while I was enjoying myself, time kept passing by and I realized that at one point I would have to make a decision. Where did I want to eat? Was it going to be in the city where I lived or some place else? What kind of restaurant? Now in the city where I live we have these tiny burgerbars where they make surprisingly good burgers. The name of the place is Meneer Smakers. What I like about this place is that you place an order and then find yourself a table and when your order is ready they call out your name. So I wouldn’t have to go through the awkward being-waited-on-all-by-myself-phase. Not having to worry about whether the waiter might ask if I’m being joined by someone. So when the end of the day started drawing closer I first had to figure out a way to the train station (most of my family lives in smaller communities). This was quite an adventure in itself because I thought I knew where to get on the bus (right in front of the elderly home where my grandparents stay) but then my public transport app got me all confused up to the point where my grandma said she would get the car keys and drive me to the station. That may not seem like such an extraordinary thing however, my grandmother can barely walk and I’m pretty sure that getting in a car with her would be an even worse idea than getting those green boots when I was in high school.
At that point I wasn’t only worrying about having dinner on my own but also about whether I would make it to my train on time. Luckily for me everything went very smooth. The train ride back was all fine and I was so tired that I was constantly fighting the urge to sleep. As my station was getting closer the nerves started to kick in. I’m pretty sure that at one point my hands were even shaking. Fun fact about me: I pretty much plan everything and when I say everything I mean everything. So I came up with a plan which would involve me walking towards the restaurant and quickly peeking inside to see how crowded it was before entering the store next-door. If the restaurant seemed quite empty I would quickly walk through the store and then make my way inside and if not I would stay in the Flying Tiger a little longer. Sadly the reflection of the windows prevented me from being able to get a good look. The walk through the store therefore became semi-quickly. After buying a shower cap to prevent my red hair from fading it was time to face my fears.
I walked into the restaurant and as it turned out it wasn’t too crowded yet. Three employees were working hard behind the counter and being ready to order I waited. Of course I already checked the menu beforehand so I knew what I was going to get. No awkward mumbling from this girl! But they were really busy so it took a while before they were able to take my order. It gave me enough time to pick a table in my mind but also enough time to contemplate making the order to go. After a while the guy took my order, I paid and I sat down at the table which I had had in mind. To avoid staring at my phone the entire time I figured I might as well read a book. On my right hand side were two friends who had just finished eating. I caught some awkward stares from them as they were leaving. On the other side a mother and a daughter who had also just finished.
10 minutes had passed and the guy who took my order started calling for Nico. At first I thought ‘Nah that can’t be me.’ but a few moments passed and nobody replied. He then called for Nico again, still no one responded. So when he called for Nico for a third time I asked if he didn’t by any chance mean Nica. I mean my entire life people have called me Nico and what if by chance he hadn’t heard me correctly when I placed my order? I was wrong, he did not mean Nica. He was really nice about it though. I started mumbling some excuse but soon stopped after I felt my cheeks turning red. I think he could see I was embarrassed because when my order was ready he softly called out my name.
In the meantime I think two couples had sat down at the table beside me but then again left. The first couple moved further back into the corner and the two sisters left to go sit in the front. I just told myself that it was because I was sitting behind the kitchen so it was kind of warm. A few more moments passed and a couple came in with their little boy. They sat down at the table on my left side (and stayed so it must not have had anything to do with me, right?). Their little kid was so adorable. He kept smiling at me while I was enjoying my burger. I started feeling uncomfortable when the mother gave me a weird look. I quickly finished the rest of my food and decided to leave.
The guy who both took my order and gave it to me saw me leave and asked how the food was. I managed to tell him in a comprehensible sentence that I’d really enjoyed the burger and wished him a good evening. I then quickly left the restaurant and at a good time as well because at that point it became really crowded. First thing I did was walk to my work (all the stores were still open) and told my colleagues about my awkward experience. We laughed it off and I proceeded to spend a lot of money at different stores to compensate for the fact that I’d put myself through that hell and survived it.
I’m really proud of myself for doing this because this experience definitely ranks in my top 3 of awkward moments. Possibly even above the moment where my strapless shirt dropped while playing basketball with a group of very religious boys and my bright yellow bra with lace became bare for all the world to see. No but really though, I felt so uncomfortable the entire time even though Meneer Smakers has a very cozy and informal setting (which is why I chose it in the first place). While I’ll be definitely coming back there again, it most certainly won’t be by myself. The food was great and the restaurant in itself is but I’m just not at comfort eating by myself in a public place like that (I did consider going to McDonalds but I figured that wouldn’t really count and I wouldn’t even really enjoy the food).
I do have something planned for my last week of Solo Sunday (which is already in two weeks) but I still need some inspiration for next week. If you have any idea on what to do be sure to let me know. I’m also curious, have you ever been in a restaurant by yourself and if so how was your experience?