Monday, November 20, 2006

Table for One?

I'm very lucky to have a great job for an employer who sends me all over the country with a generous expense account. I enjoy seeking out restaurants unique to the city I'm visiting (No Applebee's and other chains for me!)

The downside to this great fortune is that I often find myself dining alone.

It's rather tedious to while away the time in a restaurant watching other tables receive their food, or overhearing the conversations at nearby tables. In a casual or fast food restaurant I wouldn't hesitate to pull out a book or a newspaper, or even a laptop computer if I had one.

However, in a finer dining establishment, it seems boorish to stick my nose in a book or spread a newspaper on the table. (While it might be a good use of time to catch up with friends or with my mother, I wouldn't think of using my cell phone in such a situation.)

What do you all think? Is it acceptable to entertain oneself by reading in this setting? Or is it perfectly rude?

To add further consternation to the dilemma, I would hate to give the impression to some handsome and delightful single gentleman, that I'd be adverse to striking up a conversation. Or from having any other charming solo diner join me for a meal. (This is rare I know, but I have been fortunate in the past. The prerequisite, hinging on the stranger being delightful!)

Any suggestions for passing the time other than reading and rereading the specials? Or possibly tinkering with the candle on the table?


Heather said...

Here's an idea:
I was looking at the stocking stuffers at and they have decks of cards that may help out in this situation. The decks are things like "What happened here?" which has trivia for different U.S. cities, "Can you name them all? a quiz deck on everything from the nine planets to the seven seas", "Snowboarding Cards" they teach you how to snowboard, "great lines from great movies", "Super word genius deck for kids" sounds like it could be tough for adults too.
Anyway, this might allow you to have some entertaining trivia without having your nose stuck in a book. Then if you meet someone while dining you would have some icebreakers too. At the very least you would be totally prepped for your debut on Jeopardy.

TRS said...

Hey Heather!

That's pretty clever. I may have to check them out. You're right, it's not engrossing to the point of exclusion and an icebreaker to boot. For sure, pick them up when they're on sale after Christmas!



erinannie said...

As someone who is alone in various cities and restaurants all the time, I say there ain't nothing wrong with some educated reading material. I have found that a high quality, "I am so smart," books will attract men to the table. If the man turns out to be a loser, I can just point at the book and go back to reading. I wouldn't recommend Norah Roberts or Suzanne Brockmann though. It attracts the totally wrong type.

(love your blog!)