Imagine that you are sitting in one of the best restaurants in the world. All around valuable paintings, expensive furniture, exquisite appliances – a solemn atmosphere reigns and everything is permeated with reverence for visitors. To your left sits an obsessed food blogger who takes photos of everything that lands on his desk. But people still look much more at you, because you alone came to dinner with 12 dishes.
At such moments, you have conflicting feelings. On the one hand, you realize how much you callused the eyes of other visitors. Indeed, even the eccentric food photographer at the next table, in comparison with you, seems like a normal guy. It is difficult to get rid of the feeling that you are crossing the boundaries of what is permitted, deciding on such audacity as dinner alone. On the other hand, you catch yourself thinking that you are gaining the experience that is unlikely to be obtained under other circumstances.
The times when food was exclusively a source of energy for us is long over. Now we go only to trusted restaurants and take photos of food on Instagram. In our understanding, the length of the queues for fast food in a country is inversely proportional to the culture of its nation. But even such a gourmet society is not always able to understand what drives a person who plans to try 12 dishes in the company of himself alone. Doesn’t he want to discuss something at dinner? No, I don’t want to. He came here to enjoy food, and any conversation, even about the taste of dishes, runs the risk of distracting his attention. You should enjoy the absorption of food. Though not as strong as the hero of Proust from cookies soaked in linden tea, but still palpable enough to be remembered by you.
Going to a restaurant alone, of course, is much more important than just enjoying the meal. When you dine in a crowded place without company, you feel detached from a society that dictates strict rules and rituals. Feeling this freedom is not so simple. The restaurant is in constant turmoil: guests come and go, waiters continually bring new plates of food. Everyone is chatting, rattling devices – try to feel the peace and harmony in such a place. But someone succeeds. Then, without a twinge of conscience, you begin to observe with a detachment and slightly from above, what is happening and to think endlessly about something of your own.
So the next time you see someone sitting in a cafe with a book and a plate of Tom Yum in front of you, do not take this person for a lonely eccentric. Just rejoice at his ability to enjoy his company and delicious food.