I decided I'd need something to do besides eat (and to keep me from looking around at all the happy people), so after a short jaunt to the newsstand for the latest Vogue, I headed for the caf. After grabbing some tasty pulled pork, fried catfish and collard greens, I headed for a table. I focused on not tripping (the cute outfit and stiletto boots seemed like a good "of course I have friends, they're just all busy today" defense) and headed for a quiet table in the corner. I was initially uncomfortable, surrounded by pairs of friends, coworkers gabbing excitedly about their day and families visiting their loved onesy. But soon I was consumed by an interesting article, and before I knew it, everyone around me had gone, replaced by an entirely different group of people. A stylish girl ate alone two tables away, engrossed in The Lovely Bones and barely touching her lunch. The fellow next to me read the New York Times and happily slurped his soup, while on the other side of the room a messy-haired graphic designer bobbed his head to the music streaming through his headphones while picking at his burrito and flipping through a magazine.
And suddenly I was at ease, knowing that all different types of people were eating alone and having such a good time doing it. I wasn't judging them, and I couldn't see anyone else that was, either. I continued reading, smiling to myself, knowing that I'd overcome a hurdle. I felt bad knowing that my coworker was waiting to go eat until I was back, so I spent the last bit of my lunch break reading at my desk and wondering what new adventure I'd tackle tomorrow. With no clear answer, I decided to work on doing a crossword puzzle, alone in public...on my lunch hour :)