Feb 14

Let’s face it, a lot of our social eating has to do with sitting and listening to someone prattle on about the drama of their day while we listen and force conversation in between, playing the role as it were. While I love social eating, mixing it up with friends, girlfriend and others; there are times when the best therapy is alone time with a plate of food and nothing but restaurant noise in the background.

The therapy of “alone time” is not restricted to eating either; some of us find a nice long drive to be the best and then there is that visit to the theater, the long walk home or sitting on the shores of a beach just closing our eyes and listening. There are times when people are just stressful, and if you aren’t a social butterfly whose entire life is bent on the approval of others… alone time is golden.

I have found that when the days are long and stressful and my chest is sore and heavy, the best detox is to find a nice Sushi Bar on the way home, order a bottle of Sake (or hot tea) and slowly consume a Dragon Roll or 2 while tuning everything else out. At these times, I turn my Blackberry face down, I breathe slowly and methodically and I really, really savor the flavor of everything that I am eating – up until the very end. By the time the check comes around, I am at peace, my stomach is filled, and my brain is buzzing from the release.

Food and drink when eaten this way can be so therapeutic than I cannot fully explain it without you trying it. Now when I say drink, I don’t mean for you to turn your escape from people into a descent into vice and depravity; what I mean is for you to become a foodie for an hour and really, really take in the scents, tastes and texture of your food. None of it involves entertaining or impressing people outside of yourself since all you want to do is take a break for a bit.

When “alone time” is mistaken for “sad and lonely” time…

A common misinterpretation of your lonely meal will be that you are some sad loser that has no friends or family. Do not let assumptions and nosy people dissuade you from your personal detox; this is your time and anybody that will judge you should be dealt with directly and to the point. A simple answer to the nosy question of “How come you’re eating alone tonight?” can be shrugged off with “I was hungry so I stopped in for a meal… and some quiet time”.

Many people NEED to have others eating with them, not for the company or the ears as they gab on and on and on. What they need people there for is to fool the world that life is just fine and that they have someone to break bread with. Personal therapy has nothing to do with masks and fakery, but it has everything to do with stimulating your senses while relaxing. Remember this when people try to give you odd, questioning looks or call you weird for doing it alone. You’re doing you, and some stranger nosing his/her way into your business all while playing you too close is not worth your time in giving a damn.

So the next time you have a really crappy day, just give it a try and see. Treat yourself to your favorite hole in the wall, order your favorite dish (flirt with the waitress) and sit back and let life be all about that meal, in that moment and nothing more. You can return to the rubbish of the day after you’ve paid the check and walked out of there satiated.

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  • DP

    Great article!