Awkward Problems when Dining Alone

Traveling alone in a complete different city is a good thing. You see new places, meet new people and experience new things. But it that always the case when one travels alone? What if a socially awkward penguin (insert meme) goes on a tour? Will a shy person have the exact experience that the outgoing person had?

Of course not!
Here’s a fine example. 

1 – Going to a restaurant/cafe.
I live in a place where social things done alone is a like a sin, whether it’s going to a movie, traveling or going to eat. For them, one simple does not go to a restaurant all alone. With their eyes wide with disbelief, they think I’m a lunatic making a wrong choice. But I don’t pay heed to them. As long as I enjoy what I’m doing, everything’s fine. Right?
But their words do hide behind my ears (and every introvert’s) and it creeps up when you enter a restaurant all alone. Oh God, how do I look? Is my hair too long? Is my hair too messy? This is a very funny dress I’m wearing. Oh my, what do I do with my hands? Am I standing correctly? There are so many people here, are they staring at me? Your brain goes into hyper mode when entering a restaurant or a small cafe.

2. Ordering food.
Seems pretty easy. You stand in a line. Give your order, and you’ll get your food. Tadaa. No! It’s not easy. The problem starts even before you stand in the line. You stare at the menu over the wall and your mind takes all the words together and jumbles them up. People might observe that you’re merely looking at the menu to order something, but your mind panics, not even letting you to decide what you want.

After a prolonged tiresome battle inside your head, you stand in the line and face another problem. “I should not make a fool of myself while ordering my food. What if people laugh at me?” So you rehearse how you’ll give your order a hundred times before your turn arrives. But hey, you did it. You gave your order without getting goofy.

3. Sitting down.
After an awkward wait besides the counter, your food arrives and you take it to your spot which you had decided while waiting for your food. Throughout the time, you hope no one would barge and take your seat and you stare intensely at it until the world goes grey.

4. Eating.
You’re alone on a two seater and you watch everyone else with their partners or group having a jolly time and hardly noticing you. But your mind manipulates the fact. They are watching me, judging me. When your beer arrives, you look around once more and see people shaking their heads in disappointment. A young lad like you in a restaurant where you order shakes and juice, you feel like you’ve committed a crime. But you eat and enjoy your meal anyway.

5. Reading (usually in a cafe.)
You’re alone and you’ve had your meal, beer or coffee. You still have some time left till you end the day and go for your night tour. So, you take out your book or magazine thinking it will help to make time go faster. But it doesn’t! The entire time, you feel being watched. And in the end, you end up only reading a page or two and that too a hundred times before fully taking it in.

6. Getting stuck in the washroom (Rare.)
You have to go to the wee. No problem. The part of the cafe/restaurant where the washroom is is empty and you walk confidently towards the door. You feel lucky when its a one person washroom and closing the door, you happily do your business. Feeling fresh and with a wide smile on your face, you open the door and you get a heart attack when the door doesn’t open. You try with all your might pushing and pulling the knobs, turning them left and right but in vain. You fear your nightmare has turned to reality but you still keep trying your luck. And then after a few hectic, sweaty minutes, the door opens and you make you way to your table all embarrassed.  (Sometimes, the waiter has to teach you the technique from behind the door so you could open the door from the inside. That’s very…very rare. But horrifyingly, its true. *looks down in embarrassment.*

7. Leaving
The easiest part of them all! After you walk to your table, and continue reading (yes!), you feel its time to take your leave. You pack your bags, get up, stretch and leave in smiles.

But going through all these awkward encounters, an introvert enjoys his best everywhere he goes. He has a good time eating his meal, enjoying his book, and maybe getting inspired to write a new story or compose new music. He comes back home feeling all cheerful and jolly, after having great time, with more memories than those groups who party hard wherever they go.

– Viveck


3 thoughts on “Awkward Problems when Dining Alone

  1. It is awkward isn’t it? I am currently living overseas and have been wanting to go sit down and have a meal myself but at the last minute always get overwhelmed (chicken out, essentially) and get it to go instead.

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