Monday, April 5, 2004

Eating Alone

A few days ago I ate lunch by myself in the company cafeteria.

My group apparently went out to lunch, but I missed them because I was at a meeting that ran late. So there I was in the cafeteria, eating by myself. It was disconcerting.

I think it's one thing to eat by yourself in a fast-food joint where you are often eating in the company of other loners. It's another thing to be eating in a cafeteria at work, where you often know everyone by name, if not by face. Normally if I find myself unable to join my group, I go to a smaller cafeteria to eat alone.

Just like in school, there are the usual cliques in our company cafeteria. The same groups of people, and often the same exact tables. Our group has our own table, but we have second and even third choice tables, in case someone else has taken "our" table. I sat alone, somewhat worried about "what other people are thinking." But of course, I know that no one was thinking anything. It's not school. It's work. I'm grabbing lunch. So what if I'm by myself?

I lingered a bit in my aloneness. When I finished, I headed back to the office, skipping my usual dessert.

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