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No Shoes, No Shirt, No Helium Balloons

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 3:23 PM
So it wasn’t a fluke.

Last March (I think) when I went on my spur of the moment pilgrimage to the Outer Banks I had dinner by myself at a restaurant in Kitty Hawk, and –much to my surprise—I enjoyed the experience. The food was excellent, which really helped, but I mean that for the first time I didn’t feel awkward or self conscious or on display while dining alone. I’ll have to check my blog from that day because now I can’t remember, but I don’t think I even opened the book I took along with me as my date.

(Isn’t it funny how memory works: I can’t remember if I read the book while being in the restaurant, but I can clearly remember that the book was … uh…. the one about how robotics are changing the way we fight wars – the title had the word “war” in it, I’m sure of it! You know, it was written by that guy that was interviewed on The Daily Show and who works in some think thank here in DC. He’s the one who was the first to write a book on the use of child soldiers and another on the use of mercenary armies. Yeah, that guy!)

Anyway, I was very pleased with myself because this meant that I could now go to that jazz bar in the top floor of the Kennedy Center and have dinner there even if none of my friends wanted to join me (not that I’ve gone yet, of course).

I was worried. I worried that my Kitty Hawk experience had been a one-off and that I’d panic the moment I had to tell some over-friendly twelve year old hostess that, yes, I needed a table for one. What if when I sat at the table and she started to take away the other place setting, the last flimsy string that attaches me to some semblance of sanity suddenly snapped? I’d float away like a dollar-store helium balloon, leaving behind my mental health and a slightly bewildered pale, brunette (“don’t you want to hear tonight’s specials?).

See? Perfectly reasonable concerns.

But last night I went to see The Importance of Being Ernest at the Center Stage in Baltimore; before the show I had dinner by myself at the overpriced café in the theatre. (Green salad, re-heated veggie lasagna, piece of stale bread, and pumpkin and curry soup. Boy you people are nosy!) The café hummed with the sound of conversations and laughter from fellow theatre-goers. My heart was full of anticipation for the evening ahead.

I sat down at my table for one, and I didn’t float away once.

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