The job I have is one I do alone, and it means I usually lunch alone. Through the week, I work an uneven mixture I’d days at hone, and days on the road to places all over the area. I am often available to share a lunch with somebody, but not always in the right place at the right time.
In the past few years, I have become far mire comfortable with eating lunches alone in restaurants, and in fact, can often find joy and pleasure in the experience. My talent for eavesdropping is often a course for education and entertainment.
I love observing the world around me, and taking in the different tidbits of human interactions I see. A single person has a very different lunch experience than a couple, or group.
Some waitstaff understand these differences and others do not. Lunch staff probably see more singles eating than dinner staff do.
First, the single eater does have conversation partners. While this may seem obvious, the effect is, they don’t need as much time to discuss topics prior to ordering, or to decide on menu items interactively. They also notice the delay more. This is equally true after the meal. When I take my last bite, I have little need to linger and discuss life, because I am alone. My bill should arrive quicker.
I don’t blame anyone if they can’t figure this out on their own, and I don’t complain or lecture. I do however, notice when the staff do take notice, and treat me right.
Today, I had a pizza buffet in an empty restaurant. My sole entertainment was the sales team seated beside me. I enjoy other people’s conversations more than ones I participate sometimes, because I listen on multiple levels. I catch the flow of the discussions, and track the path. These particular people were all quite fascinated in traffic, and no matter what ranges the flow of conversation went, it frequently came back to driving directions and traffic. They were obviously from a smaller town. To them, Toronto is a stress of cars.
When they left, I write this, paid and left.