Long time readers of mine will know I much prefer being in a partnership or relationship to being alone. I’ve often said I fell co dependant without the co when alone, and the happiness of others gives me purpose. Having said that, I will also admit that being alone, and staying happy has been something I’ve worked at. You can lean a lot by sitting alone at lunch in a cried and just watching and listening to life around you.
I have always been great at overhearing. At eavesdropping on the lives of those beside me, or even across the room, and this is something you just don’t do when seated with friends. The lives of the people you know and see regularly are far less educational than strangers… and an office food court in urban Toronto is always full of strangers.
Food courts traditionally have more singles than traditional restaurants, and I use that term for individuals dining or seated alone, not relating to their social or marital status. People who don’t have friends to eat lunch with.
I try not to stare to long in any one direction or at any one person, bit its fun to browse the tables and guestimste histories for these people. Some are easy; the tie wearing, blackberry typing middle age businessmen who est fast, type fast, and leave. Others linger and eat slowly as they read a newspaper or just look around at everyone as I do.
I remember the days when I was obligated to take a full hour for lunch, and had time to kill. I think I can see a difference on they way people who are here for an hour everyday and those just killing time. Of course, its all in my head at this point, so I just make believe I am right.
The smartphone has changed single lunch life. It has given us something to look at in solo times, and not only ignore life, but to be ignored. I don’t give those computer thumb typist much thought. They don’t talk, or look around or give me any enjoyment. They are alone in their world, Facebooking, tweeting or whatever… occasionally smiling or laughing.
Now of course I realise – so am I. My lunch time flew by, and I hardly looked up or listened at all. Back to work.