Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stood Up

My view from my Table For One - I was too embarrassed to ask the waitress to take a picture of me alone at the table. I've never gotten used to dining alone.


Yesterday I was stood up for a luncheon date.  No big deal in the whole scheme of things but to me it was a reminder of how much I hate to dine alone.

Ironically, it wasn't me who called for the luncheon date.  It was my friend.  "Let's do lunch!"  I said "What's a good time for you?" (as I usually do, I am the accommodating one).  He said Tuesday.  I knew that was his day off although it wasn't my day of but what the hey, I can accommodate as I usually do.  

Yesterday morning I sent a text message to him "See you at 11:30."  I didn't receive an answer because I know that he sleeps late.  No big thing.

Eleven o'clock rolls around and I bundle up to go out to lunch.  A cold wave has rolled in.....finally.  Actually, I really didn't want to go out to lunch in the cold and also because I had to go to work yesterday afternoon near the same location where we were having lunch, the Rose and Crown Restaurant in Lewes.  Two trips into town.....in the cold.  I can do that.  What they hey.

So I get there and cross the threshold of the Rose and Crown at 11:24 pm.  The bartender gives me one of THOSE looks that says "Oh uh, a single diner hogging up one of our tables that could fit more."  I know THAT look because in my past I have often dined alone.  And the reason for that is because Bill doesn't like to eat out and most of my friends either can't afford to eat out or have something more important to do than dine out with me.  Sounds harsh but it is true, trust me, I know from experience.  I'm one of those saps people that other people make lunch or dinner dates with and if something else comes up better, they either cancel or postpone their date with me.  I don't know how I got into that position (maybe because I'm just too damn accommodating) or maybe just because I'm a bore.  I don't know which but it's a fact folks, I know from experience.

Anyway, I tell the waiter "I'm meeting somebody."   I want to go to a booth but he tells me "Oh no, they seat six."  Uh, okay. I've sat at that booth before and been comfortable but God forbid, I wouldn't want him to lose any business.  So I seat myself at one of those rickety tables for two out in the open (see above photo).  

The waitress comes over.  I tell her "I'm waiting for somebody."  I order an iced tea.  Fifteen minutes later she sashays by giving me THAT look. I tell her "Oh, I'll go ahead and order while I'm waiting."  As I said before, I had to go to work yesterday afternoon (at 2:30) and I do like to take an hour nap before I go to work, so I better order now. I sent my friend another text message "I'm here!"  

I order their overpriced $11.00 bacon cheeseburger, well done with fries.  Fifteen minutes later I get a plain hamburger, medium rare with luke warm fries.  Last time I was there I got luke warm fries.  I've seen reviews of this restaurant about their lukewarm fries.  Must be a speciality of theirs.  The fries are good but would be better if they were hot.  Oh well.  

I begin to eat feeling like Steve Martin in the movie "The Lonely Guy."  Remember that scene when he was eating alone in the restaurant?  When the disdainful waiter sat him down in the middle of a crowded dining room, every one stopped talking and a spot light clicked on to highlight Steve Martin's character EATING ALONE.  That's the way I felt folks, like a lonely, old fool (which I am actually but that's a subject for another blog posting).  




Ever eat alone?  I'm sure most of you have at one time or another and probably only did it once after discovering how unpleasant it is.  So there I was, chewing my medium rare $11.00 hamburger, trying not to make eye contact with the other diners who were obviously pitying this poor soul who has no friends and has to eat alone.  I tried to see the humor in my situation at that time but failed to do so.  I'm sort of feeling it now though, that's why I'm writing about it.  

I was half tempted to ask for a take out box to pack up my $11.00 medium rare hamburger (that I ordered well done) and end my embarrassment.  But I didn't want to admit defeat quite just yet.  For what seemed like an interminably extra long time, I chewed and chewed on that hamburger (which surprisingly had that nice charcoal taste that I like in spite of the pink middle which I despise) until I was finally finished.  I asked for a take out box to take my now totally cold fries home (I can reheat them in my oven at home at taste them the way they were supposed to be served....hot).  

The time was now 12:30 pm. Out in the cold again, into my car and the four mile ride home.  When I got in the house Bill asked "How was lunch?"  I told him "I got stood up but the hamburger was good."  I told him that I was going to take my nap which I usually take before I go into work.

Nap taken, got dressed in work drag and off to Lewes again.  I arrive at work at 10 minutes to 3 pm, the start of my shift.  At 2:56 pm my iPhone beeps. I see I have a text message from my friend who was to join me at lunch.  Text message:

"Shoot!  I forgot.  I'm really really sorry."  

Yesterday wasn't a total loss, I got a blog posting out of it.  And I'm sort of seeing the humor in it....I think.  


32 comments:

  1. I don't mind eating alone, but i loathe people who "forget".
    That would have sent me over the edge.
    Next time tell your "friend" to call you when he gets to the restaurant and then you'll come down and meet him.

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    1. Bob,

      Same here. Actually I did go over the edge. I tried not to show how surprised and disappointed and angry I was by my friend's insensitivity. I'm won't give him another opportunity because obviously I'm not important enough to remember for a lunch date that he set. He also has an iPhone like I do and could have set himself a reminder, like I did, but obviously again I wasn't important enough for a reminder to be set.
      Would you believe that I also thought the same thing that the next time someone wants to meet me for lunch to call me when they get to the restaurant. Lesson learned.

      Ron

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  2. hmmmmm, the cynic in me says "never again. I'm not a doormat." no one should have to eat alone. if I have to eat alone (and I have), I always have a book/magazine with me.

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    1. You know what Anne Marie? I said the same thing to myself. It won't happen again. You can be sure of that. Yes, I have eaten alone many times. I don't like to but sometimes you don't have a choice. Quite often the hotel has single female guests (there on business). They often ask me a good place (meaning a comfortable place for a single woman) to eat. I know of a few places in Lewes where they would feel comfortable eating alone and advise those places. I also advise "Half Full" with is a gourmet pizza restaurant where she can take out a pizza and eat it back at her room. I provide utensils, plates and wine glasses for her if necessary. Yesterday I didn't have a book so I read my iPhone but it was difficult to use one hand with the iPhone and the other hand to hold the hamburger. Oh well, It won't happen again.

      Ron

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  3. Forgot?! Yeah, right! You just don't forget something that's IMPORTANT. What a bummer, Ron! When I used to go on holiday regularly (nearly always alone) I'd go to restaurants by myself - but that's different from going alone when you're expecting company to join you, as you were. I'd be mortified - which, I suppose, would be the phrase which your 'friend' would like to use.I hope you can put the experience behind you without feeling too badly stung, even though I couldn't. I'd be seething for days!

    Btw: Love your pussy header at the top. But you'd have guessed that anyway.

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    1. Ray,

      Oh I am seething. I wish I wasn't but I am. You're right, going to a restaurant knowing you're dining alone is much different than waiting for somebody to show up, especially someone who invited me to lunch! More than being embarrassed and mortified, I realized that my friendship is of small import to my friend. My first response was to blame myself for reading more into the "friendship" than was there but it wasn't very responsible what he did. I'm trying to think of a reason but I can't come up with anything else except that I'm just not that important in his world scheme. Yes, it was hurtful to discover that fact. No on likes being taken for granted.

      Glad you liked the new header. That's my friend Dan's cat, another rescue cat. Dan loves that cat and that cat (I can't remember his name) loves Dan. I so want a cat. I wish I could have my own.

      Ron

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    2. I know how much you love cats, Ron - so it must be especially painful for you not to be 'allowed' one.
      Until I started reading the blogs of others I had no idea that there were so many cat-lovers and cat-owners out there - and so many who are proud to show us them. I imagine that you are like me in that there's no such thing as seeing too many of these uniquely fascinating little furry beings.

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    3. Ray,

      Oh I do love cats! I never thought I would spend most of my life without their loving companionship. They love me too. Maybe someday.

      Ron

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  4. I feel exactly the way you do...I HATE to eat alone. But sometimes I just suck it up and do it. But yeah, I feel like everyone is staring at me with pity in their eyes.

    Woe that I should find someone that enjoys dining as much as I do (other than the occasional foray to Bdubs for wings and beer and loud sports and music - the food and company is always great, the atmosphere sucks). Maybe a boyfriend?

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      I've often eaten alone, most times when I have no choice. But yesterday was different. Someone suggested lunch, I agreed, then they promptly forgot about it. I think what really bothers me is that I thought he really wanted to have lunch with me and considered it important (he wanted to ask me some questions) but apparently I wasn't that important...to him. The old blow to the ego thing Jay. I shouldn't let something like this bother me but it does. I know there are more important things in the world than me being brushed off. I'm just having a little Pity Party here.

      Ron

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    2. Yeah, I get you. I'd have been hurt, too. Or perhaps something unexpected and quite disconcerting came up that just overwhelmed him....who knows.
      Jay

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    3. Jay,

      You understand. I was hurt. I feel guilty because I was. Probably should let it roll off but it doesn't because I thought this friend did like me. Obviously not.

      Ron

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  5. Ron, the only way I could excuse the rude friend's behavior is that he has Alzheimer's. Remind me not to go to that restaurant when I am there, if they can't let me sit at any empty table I choose. To hell with their rude looks and expectations that you are taking up unnecessary space. I would have been just as "rude" by sending an eleven dollar hamburger back to be cooked the way I want it and with cheese, and then tell them, next time I will go to Burger King where I can have it my way for less than half the price in a comfortable booth of my choosing!

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    1. David,

      My friend apologized again tonight and I'll put this behind me but his behavior has affected our friendship which is a shame. I like him and think he is a nice guy but I could never fully trust him again. This is about respect that I assumed he had for me. I was wrong. Move on Ron. Of course I will never go back to the restaurant either. Most restaurants are indifferent at best and often dismissive to single diners. I've been through this before but I think this is the first time someone asked me to go to lunch and didn't show up. Won't happen again.

      Ron

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  6. Man, I'm sorry. You don't have to feel guilty for feeling hurt.
    Did the other person have an emergency? Has this happened before?

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    1. Sean,

      He said he just "forgot." I guess that's what bothered me.

      Ron

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    2. I know that I enter EVERY date into my calendar as I schedule it. I've forgotten very important stuff with friends before (being chronologically disabled), so I avoid it now with a smartphone and my Google Calendar!
      Jay

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    3. Jay,

      He has an iPhone like I do. I asked him why didn't he put it in his iPhone calendar with two alerts like I do. He said he doesn't do that but instead still make "notes" to himself. He said he just forgot which I believe he did.

      Ron

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    4. So maybe "no harm, no foul"? Even if it sucked?
      Jay

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    5. Jay,

      I just don't go back. On another day I would have sent it back, which I usually do, but I was under a time constraint. I'm not going aback anyway. Twice is enough for me. You'll have to give it a try when you're here in March. I'd be interested to know what you think,

      Ron

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  7. Well, as you said, it wasn't a total loss because it made a great blog post. I hate dining alone but I'm used to it. They have non-smoking sections in restaurants. Perhaps they should have dine-alone sections, too - - for people who get stood up.

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    1. Jon,

      I wasn't going to write about it because I know my friend reads my blog posts and I didn't want to hurt his feelings but then I thought "Why not?" It's something that happened to me that made me feel bad, more than the inconvenience of dining alone )which I have also done a lot of) but the fact that I wasn't considered important enough to warrant a reminder. My blog is my therapy. I hate to keep things bottled up.

      Ron

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  8. Don't feel bad ... it's the other guy who should do that. And a text wasn't good enough, either, a full blown telephone call would have been better. Face to face, so to speak. I regularly eat alone. I didn't like it at first but then I got to thinking, hey, I'm as good as anyone else, so now I don't mind it at all. I usually spend the time reading the smart phone while I'm eating.... yes, I'm one of those who can't leave the thing alone.

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    1. Valerie,

      You're absolutely right Valerie. I would have been very impressed if he had given me a "full blown telephone call" to apologize then I wouldn't have felt as bad because him going to that trouble would prove that he cared and I was important to him. I think what bothers me is the fact that I placed his friendship more important than he placed my friendship to him. That hurt.

      Ron

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  9. Imagine yourself the Roman gourmet, Lucullus, and just say, "Today Ron dines with Ron."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucullus

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    1. Paul,

      Actually I do like my own company. I would have enjoyed my friend's company that day to but apparently he didn't put the same value on my company. Lesson learned Ron.

      Ron

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  10. Valerie,

    I was on my iPhone the whole time. I too cannot leave it alone. In fact I'm at my car dealership now waiting for an oil change on my iPad.

    I've eaten by myself plenty of times and will again but this time I told the folks at the restaurant I was waiting for someone. I guess why I'm bothered (and I probably shouldn't be) was that I thought I was more important to this person that I obviously was. Ego damage here. I'll get over it but I was hurt. He's not a bad guy but I just got a reality check which I'm glad I got now instead of later.

    Ron

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    1. Ron, I wasn't aware that iPads need oil changes. LOL. But then the only apples I like have seeds in them.

      I used to eat alone all the time when I was consulting and traveling. Usually, I took a book or magazine with me, but that was before I had reading gadgets.

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  11. That is why i carry my ipad with me everywhere and can read. As much as I hate to eat alone its not as bad at lunch and I tend to stick to Panera or a small diner near my house. Now dinner thats a different story. :-)

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    1. Roger,

      This morning I took my car to Dover (39 miles away) to my dealer to have the oil changed. Bill went with me. We both took out iPads. If I knew I was going to be stood up (which won't happen again by the way), I would have taken my iPad. I do like Panera and if I went there to eat I definitely would take my iPad. However, like you, dinner is a different story. I would prefer a dining partner. No fun eating out by oneself. That's the whole point in dining out, not necessarily the food but the friendship and socializing. That's why I like it.

      Ron

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  12. Well that sucks.
    Although I occasionally dine alone. I like being alone. Not always, but more often than most people, I think. I would feel uncomfortable dining alone in a large fancy restaurant, but in a smaller cafe or bistro I have no problem being by myself. However, if I were supposed to meet someone who never showed up? Yeah, I'd be pissed.

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    1. Java,

      Yep, I was upset. Not so much as dining alone, if I'm expecting to dine alone I prepare. However, when I tell the folks in the restaurant that "I'm expecting someone" and they never show up, well, it's embarrassing. I guess I set myself up for this disappointment because I like this person a lot. I just have to readjust myself so I don't get hurt again. He's since apologized and I believe he is sincere.

      Ron

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