Single Sunday

Posted on Monday 22 October 2007

“It’s good to get out.” –My Wonderful Friend

“I was separated from my wife for almost a year. Maybe it was only eight months. But I got the single-guy thing out of my system. Now…you, know, it’s okay.” –A coworker

“You’ll know, when you know.” –A special friend

Exile. I really need to thank the commenter who described my life here as such. It is the perfect word, vision, and reality of where I am, what I am experiencing, and what defines my existence amid the palm trees and perennially warm days. I could not be so arrogant as to compare my exile to the well-known exiles of the great writers, philosophers, and religious men. It is, nevertheless, my exile, and it is allowing me time and space and reflection to knit my life back together.

The problem with exile, at least mine, is sometimes I get bored. I know, being bored is not exactly the state of mind that is called to mind when one thinks of the great thinkers in exile. But there it is, and here I am. I want to talk to people in a social setting that is not work. I want to be asked what I’d like to drink, how I am, who I am. Hell, I’d be happy to meet a couple of friends who aren’t drunks or borderline creepy.

Thus, I spent this past Sunday “out” with the sole intent to talk to people I don’t know. First stop, a giant sports bar to watch the Washington Redskins vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Would that we had been playing Dallas or Philadelphia, because such a game might have drawn a more interesting crowd.

But never mind that. I walked into the dark, cavernous space, noted TV 7 would air the ‘Skins game in a few minutes and spied an empty bar stool right next to a young guy wearing a Redskins jersey.

“Is this taken?” I smiled at the shaggy-haired, cap-wearing boy in the jersey. “I promise, I am a ‘Skins fan.”

“Uh, well, um…okay, I guess.”

Oh, I get it. Don’t sit here. But I did anyway, because no other stools were available. And as I sat, one of the boy’s friends appeared, frowned at me, and made a big deal about having to walk around the horseshoe-shaped bar to lug another barstool back to the spot next to his friend. And as I realized he had expected me to give up my stool to him, all I could think about was how somebody’s mama had failed to teach someone some manners.

The blond bartender studiously ignored me for 10 minutes, while she stocked beer in coolers, walked away from my end of the bar to polish glasses, and then simply chose to talk to anyone and everyone else who was a man and not me. Wonderful! I finally got the attention of her male counterpart, who grudgingly took my drink order and tossed me a menu with a look that said, “Please don’t order anything complicated. In fact, please don’t order any food at all.”

Some days, I hate people who work in restaurants.

A couple sitting next to me asked for their check, which meant I could now move to one of their stools and give Mr. ‘Skins Fan his stool back for his other rude pal who had just arrived, as he, too, made it clear how annoyed he was that “his” stool was taken by me.

Some days, I hate people who patronize restaurants.

I had just settled in to my new spot at the bar, given my order for a burger and fries, when a cute young man wearing a Cardinals cap slid onto the stool next to me. “Hi,” he smiled. “Okay if I sit here?”

“You should know I am rooting for the ‘Skins,” I smiled back.

“You should know I am the only Cardinals fan in here, I guarantee it,” he laughed.

I would like to say he was a great guy. I would like to say we hit it off and he will be my entree to more fun folks to hang out with on my days off. I would like to say this, but all I can say is this: He was really nice, but a complete crazy man about football. He almost got in a fight with the rude ‘Skins fans next to me, and every time he wrapped his arm around my shoulder to cheer when the Cardinals did anything right, he pushed my T-shirt off my shoulder to the extent that my bra was very much exposed. The Ravens fan across the bar waited for these moments and raised his glass in a silent toast every time it happened.

The rude ‘Skins fans finally had enough to drink to introduce themselves to me, although all I gleaned from them was that one was from Potomac, one was from Bethesda, and another was from Ocean City, Md., and none of them could believe I actually ever lived in D.C. proper.

“Why would you live in D.C.? I mean, did you go to A.U or something?” the shaggy-haired one asked. I went to both A.U. and Georgetown, I started to say, but didn’t, because then they started talking about the great weed they were going to smoke after the game, and, well, I just didn’t have much more to say.

The ‘Skins did their best to make the game a nail-biter, but they won, and I was outta there before the 4 p.m. games aired. Now, that was a fun outing!

Next stop, my neighborhood bar, where I hoped to meet up with a potential friend I had met my first minute in town, a potential friend I had emailed my third minute in town to thank him for picking up my dinner tab, but who had instructed me months later when he finally read that email, that I should call him “the next time you plan to be at the bar, because I never check my email, except every now and then.”

Sometimes, I hate people who never check their email.

He apparently doesn’t check his voice mail, either, because he wasn’t there when I got there, and he never showed up while I nursed a glass of wine for an hour and 13 minutes. But I caught up on the past month’s happenings with the young bartender, whom I have always liked, and discovered she is doing quite well without my assistance as her editorial advisor on her papers. She is taking five full-time classes and working full-time, and she has a B+ average.

Sometimes, I am floored by what people do in their “other” lives.

It was at this point in the evening when another regular walked in, one of the ones who had told me a few weeks after I moved here that I should go by a different name, cut my hair and change just about everything else about myself in order to fit into the South Florida scene. This would be the same man who had also asked for my phone number that horrible evening, saying, “So we can have dinner together. But no one can know, because I am, you know, married.”

On this Sunday night, however, he pretended never to have seen me in his life, despite my having run into him in passing several times (and no, I had not given him my phone number or gone out to dinner with him!). Because on this Sunday he was here with his snowbird wife. His blond haired, blue-eyed, petit, stylish, adorable snowbird wife. How could he not appreciate her?

Sometimes, I hate people, period.

At the end of a rough few days, as a busy week in the early season looms with the reality of a six-day stint that means at least two doubles, I find myself wondering about the point of my exile. I also find myself asking myself, again and again, with far more regularity: What the hell am I doing?

“You’ll know, when you know,” says a special friend.

In the meantime, I don’t think I need to get out so much, after all.

15 Comments for 'Single Sunday'

  1.  
    Angela
    October 22, 2007 | 9:06 pm
     

    I’m waiting tables in a DC restaurant (because I go to AU, of course)… I’m sure you can imagine how insane the bar gets during those Redskins games!
    Hope you figure out what you’re doing soon enough. Oh, and I agree, going out is overrated!

  2.  
    October 22, 2007 | 11:14 pm
     

    People! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Social skills are very under-rated in society today. Emily Post must be throwing off sparks from all the spinning in her grave. Good thing there’s “gentlepeople” like you and me out there to show how it’s done 😉

  3.  
    Restaurant Gal
    October 23, 2007 | 9:13 am
     

    Angela–Well, good luck with your job and with school. And I’m there with you, going out to work, going out to the store, going out for a run, and staying in beyond that! Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

    Ex-RM–Honestly, after Sunday, I am glad for two things–that I am not looking for a boyfriend, and that I have many hours ahead to be filled only with work as the season gets going. Off hours? Right here in my living room.

  4.  
    Julie
    October 23, 2007 | 9:33 am
     

    RG — I’m totally a homebody. When I lived in California, I was working a full-time job, nannying part-time, and taking an evening class at the local community college. If I wasn’t at one of those places, I was home. Sometimes friends would talk me into going out with them I didn’t want to deal with other people regardless of their manners.

    Now that I work at home, I have the best co-workers — Martha, Oprah, Rachael. If they annoy me, I can turn them off. Though, sometimes it’s nice to have the t.v. on for company. I enjoy going out more now that I used to be. But, I’m still happy to get home afterwards.

  5.  
    Suz
    October 23, 2007 | 10:11 am
     

    Great insightful post about the barfly crowd… “What am I doing?” Boy, I can relate to that question. I hope I’ll know when I know, too. :p Keep on smiling, RG!

  6.  
    K
    October 23, 2007 | 1:40 pm
     

    Wow, sounds just lovely, lol!
    Sometimes I prefer being at home, but my whole goal this year was to go out to more functions – I guess that’s the thing – I have no appeal of going out to a bar, to ‘meet’ people. I do love a pub, but with friends, and people watch from there.
    And other times, I’m grateful that I have a lovely home that I feel very comfortable sitting in.
    It is what it is, life that is.

  7.  
    October 23, 2007 | 2:49 pm
     

    Voluntary work is always a good way to meet people. Quite often people who are a bit more understanding about life too.

  8.  
    Don
    October 24, 2007 | 4:31 am
     

    RG,

    I stumbled across your blog while looking for something to remind me of my old hometown of DC. I to am in the restaurant industry, and enjoy reading your posts. Please keep posting…..one question though….why the restaurant industry? You could have done a million things with your former career, It amazes me when people get into this industry when they have had other lives. Me, all I have ever done is restaurants, and wish I had another career to fall back on, especially when dealing with all of the “usual” diners on a day to day basis.

    Don

  9.  
    Restaurant Gal
    October 24, 2007 | 5:10 am
     

    Jullie–Funny thoughts about your “co-workers.”

    Suz–On my time off from my own restaurant, I like to take myself out and be on the other side of service. But, not sure that’s working real well on more than a couple of levels. Oh, well. Maybe the New England game will be on national TV this Sunday. Smiling most of the time, I promise.

    Kim–Great suggestion. I guess if I had regular hours, I could commit to something. Right now, the idea of taking on another obligation of time, work or otherwise, no matter how worthy, feels impossible. Eventually, who knows?

    Don–So glad you stopped by and commented. Hopefully, you will enjoy the archived posts that took place in DC–up until mid-July. More importantly, I appreciate your question about why I am doing what I do. It may inspire a post in the next few days as I try to answer that.

  10.  
    mikepete
    October 24, 2007 | 5:28 am
     

    I have been in Vegas for 7 years, and I relive that same evening over and over. It’s hard meeting people! It’s hard finding that great place that makes you feel like your at home. I feel lucky to have 1 place like that here. Just one. But the people working there are wonderful.
    And I get to call them my friends!

  11.  
    Pascal Yang
    October 24, 2007 | 7:51 am
     

    hey!
    I just wanted to say hi, because well, I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and I often find something to relate to in your posts. I found your blog through waiterrant.net (which I’ve been following for quite a while too, but never left a post…) and I’ve really enjoyed both of your insightful comments into your daily lives.
    So.. I wanted to say hi to tell you my appreciation for your good, fun writing =]. And also, maybe, make friends. I’m 17, a high school senior, living in China (no, I’m not communist), studying in an American International school (been there since kindergarten), of French nationality (was born there, and yes, I speak French), and Taiwanese roots (both my parents are Taiwanese). hahahha It’s a mess of backgrounds and nationalities, I know, but hopefully it just makes me interesting =].
    Everything’s a mess of college applications and student events and essays and homework right now, but I just felt like it was time to contact you. To bring.. I don’t know.. something new into your life. A spark perhaps? Hey! there’s somebody halfway around the world who reads your posts daily! Isn’t that neat?! Get excited!
    I hope this makes you feel a little better, and satisfied your need for fresh air, and something out of your workplace. And hopefully, maybe, we can be friends?

  12.  
    October 24, 2007 | 10:01 am
     

    You’ll find your “Cheers” eventually. You’re funny, charming and sweet – those cretins don’t deserve your friendship.

  13.  
    October 24, 2007 | 10:54 pm
     

    Hi!
    I love your blog!! I can relate!!
    I was tagged with the Thinking Blogger Award, and part of the acceptance is to “tag” 5 more blogs with it. Since I find restaurant humor to be my favorite, I chose your blog as one of my favorite 5.
    To find out more about this award, and to get the image, please visit
    http://waitress-stories.blogspot.com/2007/10/thinking-blogger-award.html

    Thanks again!!
    Beth

  14.  
    October 25, 2007 | 6:01 am
     

    Hopefully you’ll find your group of people you can relate to soon.. it’ll make living there that much better..

    Its hard I know…

  15.  
    October 25, 2007 | 7:04 pm
     

    Restaurant Gal.

    I reside on an island in S. Fla, and believe me, I know the feeling of “exile”. I always felt I had no life. Work or going out to a bar has been my lifestyle for so long I was becoming depressed, having no life, that no sense of purpose feeling. Well last year I came up with a great idea to help me get out of this “I have no life” non-sense. I bought 5 books. I gave out one book to my favorite grocery store clerk, two books to my two my favorite waitresses, another to a gift store owner, and a book for a woman that works at a local marina. Inside each book I wrote an invitation telling each one that they had one month to read the book and were to meet me at a local restaurant for food/drinks to discuss the book. I now have a growing book club that meets up once a month. All of us still are ONLY acquaintances. Some of the girls are religious, some are alcoholics, single mothers, business owners, and we even have a devil worshipper in the club. Very few of us have anything in common accept for the book we each read. Anyway, starting this book club really pulled me out of a slump.

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