Wednesday, 28 December 2016
70: Lunch for one..
My hands feel clammy. I feel a tightness in my chest and fight an overwhelming urge to run out the door and back to my desk where I had just been surrounded by quiet reflection. I feel several pairs of eyes on me and I try to muster a confident voice. "Table for one please" I manage to squeak out. "Get a hold of yourself Michelle! You are a confident nearly 50-year old who has lived and dined all over the world!" I muster myself. I know I am behaving like a total chicken but am unsure why I am feeling so reticent about having lunch on my own. After all, I have dined by myself many a time but this feels different.
I am sitting in a restaurant in Whistler at the height of the holiday season. Holidays equal family and friends but I am on my own. Matt and the girls are on the slopes somewhere between Blackcomb and Whistler mountains and I have had to beg off due to a rotator cuff injury that has had me in pain 24/7 for the past two months. I feel like an interloper in amongst a sea of graceful (and glamorous) mountain adventurers! Excited conversation swirl around me in different languages - chatter about the powder and visibility. And then I catch sight of my own reflection – flat hair, no make-up, baggy sweater and leggings. Let’s just say the only thing stopping me from upping and escaping back to our rented two bedroom apartment is I am longing for a meal cooked by someone else and a refreshing drink (i.e. cocktail 😉)! But I really should have thought a little about my outfit – and remembered to bring my book.
Anyway, I am told it is going to be a five minute wait. I nod in agreeance, fighting every molecule in my body that is screaming at me to turn around and just walk out. Unfortunately all that is left in my holiday pantry is a packet of some pretty disgusting looking noodles - so I stay put. Quite literally, my need for something a little more sophisticated than an unappetizing bed of carbohydrates is the only thing stopping me from running out. 10 minutes later, I am shown to a table - facing a sea of diners who are in their twos, threes and more. Yup! I am pretty much the only person in the room dining with my shadow.
I wait for my waiter, desperately scanning faces to see who will take my drink order at least (aka a double serving of Dutch courage on the rocks por favor!). No luck. I fight another overwhelming urge to just walk out and pick up a sandwich I can just take home and eat at my desk. But once again another urge stops me. The urge to have a freshly made salad and a crispy chicken burger! Yup. I have just given the menu a once-over. Finally! A young girl who looks like she just walked out of a magazine comes over and I gratefully order. No turning back now!
I get a message from Matt from wherever he and the girls are. They are just sitting down to lunch too. Feeling a little lonely, I share with him my wave of irrational anxiety and paranoia about being the only non-skier in the room dining with their own shadow. He laughs. In good Matt fashion he says the restaurant I am in actually secretly prefers non-skiers - I think it's because us alpine non-adventurers take up less room and do not leave a trail of wet slush in our wake. He tries to make a date to meet (aka rescue) me outside the restaurant in about an hour. Frankly, I don't think I will last that long - I am a fast eater! That and my now-arrived meal no longer looks as attractive as I always prefer eating with Matt where we get to taste each other's meals. But I forge on.
The restaurant has now started to empty out as skiers head back out to the lifts that will take them to heights where vertically-phobic people like me try to avoid as best we can. The room is quieter and I look out at the beautiful view of white pristine landscape before me and half-wish I could join them all. Lunch done and heart no longer pounding with erratic nonsense musings, I ask for my bill and head home to wait for Matt and the girls - in the quiet of our room.
- end -