Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dining With Strangers

There are some solitary activities which cause people discomfort. Having grown up as an only child, I don't seem to have a lot of the same issues. I actually enjoy "alone" time. I can easily go to a movie or a restaurant by myself and be quite content, despite the oft sympathetic greeting of, "only one?", as I am quietly escorted to a discreet table for two.

About a week ago, I suppressed my inner vegetarian long enough to dine at one of my favourite steak restaurants. I sat on the rather long, vinyl padded bench which stretched across the back of several tables. That way, I was able to face the restaurant rather than sit in a chair and stare at a wall.

While studying the menu, a necessary formality even though I always order the same thing, I felt something wedge itself against my hip. I curiously tried to peek at the activities of the woman and the three men that had been seated at the table beside me. The woman had stood up and in so doing had shoved her enormous, "Coach" purse against me. She excused herself from the table and left for the restroom...without her bag! When she returned and made her way back onto to the bench, I felt another nudge and noticed that the purse was now almost entirely on my lap. I was flabbergasted. The next table was not that close, nor is that part of my anatomy particularly large. I was well within the confines of my tiny table space whilst she was seated at least four feet away.

I was tensed up but managed to stare calmly into the distance, pretending that I didn't see the intrusive item. I sipped my vodka martini, straight up with olives. Oh, who am I kidding? I gulped my martini and began thinking about my next move. I glanced surreptitiously toward her, then down. The purse was wide open. Oh no! She'll think I tried to get into it.

The olives helped to level my blood sugar so that I could come up with a few ideas. Plan #1 - Perhaps I should have another martini to overcome my shyness and ask her to move it. I looked over and saw the four clinking glasses and toasting each other. Hmmm...what would she think? Why couldn't she just see my predicament and take her bag away?  Plan #2- What if I tried to go to the restroom? That option is always a problem when dining alone. Besides, I didn't think I'd be able to move the purse without physically picking it up to do so. Plan #3 - Use one of my Zumba moves, fling my hip toward it and hope the purse shifts. That was it! Brilliant! Plan #3 it was.

I slid my back side to the left and hurled my hip in the opposite direction, right against the purse, just as a steak platter was placed in front of me. "Would you like another martini?" the waitress asked nonchalantly pretending not to notice my blushing face and odd behaviour.

"Errr...(tempted), no thanks, one is my limit. I have to walk across the road in rush hour traffic," I answered as if I needed an excuse not to imbibe further. She nodded and left. I nibbled my meal as I tried to visualize the viability of a new idea. Plan #4 - Get the waitress to ask her to move it.

As I adjusted the napkin on my lap I once again felt the offending purse brush against me. I gave it a shove with my hand, then another. Such a simple move had worked! I now had at least 6 inches of leeway between me and the bag.

Noting that the group was engrossed in conversation, I looked over to make certain that the purse had travelled a respectable distance away from me. As I did, I overheard one of the men, dark haired, middle aged, heavy set offering to sport a thong at the pool during their next business function.

I had no choice as the waitress approached. "I've changed my mind. I'll have another martini please."

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