Being alone in a town such a Kingston on a conference affords one with certain unique opportunities, such as experiencing the crushing loneliness of walking into a restaurant alone and asking for a table for one. Still, after a day filled with considerably positive energy, I was prepared for it, as the night prior, I had successfully eaten alone in my hotel's restaurant.
I had participated in a yoga class arranged by one of the conference's delegates in the afternoon, enjoyed a swim in the hotel's pool, took a few thrusts down the water-slide that was available and soaked myself in both the hot tub and the sauna. I was invigorated and, shortly after nine PM, decided to walk out into the environs and eat at the nearest restaurant that wasn't a KFC or a Golden Griddle.
Aunt Lucy's was the first restaurant I found in the relatively sparse area surrounding my hotel, which was located on the outskirts of town. It appeared classy from the outside and I had heard good things about it from a coworker who often travels to Kingston. So I opened up the door and stepped inside, ready to once more utter those fateful words… "table for one, please."
It took a few second for anyone to notice my presence. There was a table just ahead with a few people sitting there. A young man who was tending bar approached me.
YOUNG MAN: "Hello Sir."
MAN SITTING AT TABLE (quietly, to young man): "We're closed."
YOUNG MAN: "I'm sorry, we're closed."
ME: "But on the door it says you close at ten."
YOUNG MAN: "Uh, we actually closed at 9:30 tonight."
I glanced at my watch, confused. The man at the table spoke up
MAN AT TABLE: "Ted, it's actually quarter after nine."
I paused, getting the sense I was being jerked around. The man at the table stood up, and I could tell he was the manager.
MANAGER: "Sir, we decided to close early tonight, as there weren't any customers."
ME: "Then perhaps you should have locked the door."
MANAGER: "Let me go see if the chef's still here. Are you here for dinner?"
ME: "I came here for a meal, yes."
He walked away and into the kitchen. He soon returned.
MANAGER: "Right this way, sir."
ME: "No, don't worry about it, there's no need to bother yourself."
MANAGER: "No, no, sir. Please. We never say no to a customer."
Thinking to myself, you just said no to be twice, I took a seat. Before I could even open the menu, the manager came back and asked me: "What can I get you?"
ME: "You know what, I'm just gonna take off instead."
MANAGER: "Please sir, that's not necessary."
ME: "It's okay, you guys take the night off."
MANAGER: "I hope you'll join us again."
I walked out of the restaurant still hungry and lonely, and now scorned. Now, I'm normally not the kind of guy who gets mad at service workers, but the thought of everyone in the restaurant waiting for me to order and eat so they could go home made me pissed off.
I walked back to the hotel and came to the computer to write this. Now I think I'm going to go to my room and do the second most depressing thing on earth:
Order room service and read in my bed.