Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dinner for One

Sometimes I feel a little guilty when my posts here don't directly pertain to scootering in some way because this was supposed to be, and still is, a "scooter blog." In this entry I will attempt to tie together an aspect of my personality with the scootering theme that almost makes sense to me.

When I started college and chose psychology as my major I used to claim that my choice was because I wanted to understand myself.  I believe now at the ripe age of 56 that we give far too much credit to 18-year-olds embarking on college careers in that we believe they are capable of making decisions as wise as they might be if they weren't quite so green.  There was nothing in my study of psychology that even remotely explained to me why I made some of the choices I made, why I did some of the things I chose to do, and even why it took so long for me to realize that psychology was at best a pseudoscience.  I have, however, figured out a thing or two about myself through the years and can credit scootering more than studying psychology for the conclusions to which I have come.  So it is with this current entry, "Dinner for One."

I grew up in a home in which my mom, dad, sister, and I lived with my maternal grandparents and my bachelor uncle.  It was a traditional home in that all of us gathered for dinner at the appointed hour each and every day.  When I was in the fourth grade our nuclear unit moved to a home that my parents had had built and that tradition continued with one noteworthy exception.  Each year on my parents' wedding anniversary the four of us went out to dinner to a small bar and grill where, no doubt, my dad took my mom on some of their dates because my sister and I remember being told over and over again about how the lobster dinners there used to cost $.90 back in the day when three good-sized tails along with fries and coleslaw could be had for that price.

Eventually I left mom and dad's house, got married, and the tradition continued even as my girls were born and were growing up.  Each and every night we sat down to dinner together at the kitchen table with an occasional restaurant meal thrown in for good measure.

It was, a paradigm shaker, when about 10 years ago my younger daughter returned home one evening after having worked on a school project at a friend's house.  When I asked what she had had for dinner she replied," Emily made us macaroni and cheese."

"But what did their family have for dinner," I asked?

"Oh, they don't have dinner together.  They just make whatever they want when they're hungry."

It had never occurred to me, in my then 40 some years that there might be a family that did not sit down to dinner together every day or at least on a regular basis most of the time.

All of that leads up to this.  Because of my assumption that all families sat down to dinner together just about every day, all my life it broke my heart to go to a restaurant with my family and see anybody eating a meal alone.  I had always assumed the worst whenever I saw someone dining alone.  A spouse had died, perhaps.  A falling out with one's family had left one estranged from them.  Whatever.  It just never entered my thoughts that someone might be eating alone because one lives quite happily alone.  I never thought that perhaps a single person living alone didn't feel like cooking dinner that particular night and went out to enjoy a restaurant meal.

And what does this have to do with scootering?  Precisely this.  It wasn't until I began scootering that I was ever truly comfortable with myself.  My alone self.  It has been riding the scooter for these past seven years that has put me in touch with my alone self, and which has made me comfortable in appreciating and enjoying my own company when I am alone.  I would have chosen to go hungry before ever sitting down to eat by myself in a restaurant because I did not want to be perceived as that "poor person eating alone."

This evening I went to a local buffet and had a splendid meal with one of my favorite persons – myself!  It felt like a glorious scooter ride, but with food.  We no longer live in that same world in which I grew up where home was the place where they had to take you in and where you could count on a delicious dinner with the rest of the family each and every day.  I guess, I'm okay with that after all, because if you can't ride a scooter by yourself you are bound to miss out on a lot of fun, and maybe even go hungry now and then.


bob skoot said...


lots to think about and I am paralleling what you said. I just never thought about it, the structured life we both had when we were younger but now in the modern age we are all left to fend for ourselves. I don't wish to say too much for I might expand on what you have posted and do a blog post myself

bob: riding the wet coast

Joe said...

Heck, Bob! If you have some thoughts along the same lines, run with them! I've barely scratched the proverbial surface here and would be delighted to read of your similar thoughts.

Doug Klassen said...

I am one of those people that is quite comfortable alone. Even as a very small child I could play with friends and have fun or keep myself entertained with toys or books. These many years later I spend quite a lot of time alone and I'm okay with but it's not ideal, there are times when I get lonely. So much of life is better when it's shared, especially meals and traveling.

As for dining out alone, to me the chief problem is that in the absence of good company, the meal is over too quickly. A tast dinner or a pleasant lunch should take a while, not 10 or 15 minutes.

Joe said...

Sadly, Doug, all my meals are over in a jiffy. I don't know why, but meals with Mom, Dad, and Sis were always taken as if we were a small herd of locusts who had descended on a field with a mighty hunger, and I haven't been able to break that habit of wolfing everything down except with much difficulty in a particular dress-up occasion that warrants the effort.