Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why I Hate to Eat Out Alone

There are lots of reasons I hate to eat out in a restaurant by myself.  But tonight I met my #1 reason once again -- I simply cannot be trusted to behave myself.  It really is that simple.

When you're sitting in a dining room full of strangers by yourself, no matter how hard you try not to, you always tune in to the conversations around you.

Thus tonight at Max's Allegheny Tavern did wash over me . . .

I don't know -- she's in her 30's . . . 

It's funny that we both have brothers who are electrical engineers . . . 

Want anything else, sweetie?

And then the one -- the loud older male regaling the young ones at his table with his opinions on all things political:

I'm just glad they didn't go with the Commerce Clause . . . Roberts was right . . . I don't like it, but he was right . . . 

And on and on and on it went, until the young guys at the next table formerly speculating about the age of some young lass finally broke out in this exchange:

Hey, what about tort reform?  I don't even know what it is, but we should probably talk about it.

Now I could be wrong, but it seemed at the time that they too were responding to the fact that there was no getting away from the loud conversation at the nearby table and in a if-you-can't-beat-'em-might-as-well-join-'em spirit, decided to go political with the only phrase (meaningless to them) of a political nature that came to mind.

It went on through the entire meal, getting louder and louder with each exchange with his table mates, a young couple.  I'm guessing the girl was a relative of his.

He variously referred to the young man and his arguments as naive, stupid and dumb.

Up until this point, I had been romanticizing my time in Pittsburgh and enjoying the experience of the big-city neighborhood -- a place I haven't visited for a long time.  Flower boxes in the windows, a friendly smile from someone sitting at his window, folks strolling around on a hot summer evening, little kids screaming their laughter at the community playground -- it was magic.

And it's true to the experience of the city.  But so is eating a meal close enough to a stranger to be forced to listen to his dinner conversation, whether illuminating or not.

Not my finest hour, I found I couldn't resist joining in.  As I left, I walked over to their table, excused myself and said, If you're calling somebody names, you've already lost the argument, and walked away.

It took him a moment to realize what I had said, at which point he shouted after me, And your mother too.

Really?  I smilingly thought to myself.  That's the best you've got?  Well, honey, you don't know my mother.

I wish it had been satisfying, but it wasn't.

I'm not sorry, nor do I feel guilty.  I just wish I had been more clever in driving the point home.  I wish I'd had the nerve to do what I wanted to do during my dinner -- go sit beside him and join in the debate about health care as if I were a participant, because willing or not, I was.

That's what I wish I had done.

I'll just have to settle for the smarmy riposte.  Too bad.


  1. Ahhh! That's my Beth! Welcome back!!!

    1. Have I told you lately how much I adore you? Saw Aisha at GA - hopefully I can post a pic - great to see her. Hugs you.