Ok, Michele, I lied.

Last thing I texted my sister before I took off on Sunday was, “I am 15 pounds overweight right now. I am going to walk and eat lettuce all week!”

I’ve eaten everything BUT lettuce.

My first two days in the city were spent inside, doing work. I know, I know. It’s okay – I expected it would be. I really like the work I’m doing, and doing it in this crazy city, next to a big open, sunny window, listening to car tires skip over the cobblestone streets outside – not a bad thing.

Last night about 6, I finished my last phone call, closed the laptop and headed outside. My one mission was to go into a restaurant and eat. Sounds easy, but eating alone is not comfortable for me, not easy at all.

For three miles I zigzagged up and down the streets of the Village. The longer I walked, the harder it got. All my mind could see was a big elephant in the restaurant – me among romantic couples sitting together, groups of friends laughing, enjoying each other’s company. Oh, I could squint and pretend to read Facebook and twitter on my phone. But in a dark restaurant, we all know that’s a joke. I can hardly read the damn menu at my age.

The alter ego, the slave driver, wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I had to pick a place, any place, and do it soon.

I stopped at a little Italian place called Ristorante Mappamondo. The sandwich board outside announced a special of “Black Tagliolini with Calamari in Spicy Tomato Sauce.” No idea what it was, but I have a history of being adventuresome with food. The most appealing part of this restaurant was that it was safe. Other than the couple consumed with their toddler, it was dead empty. Just me and them. A bit of a cowardly choice, but it was ok for my first step. At least I did it.

When the waitress came to the table I made a quick, nervous – and inane – comment about how lovely the weather was. She shrugged and answered, ‘Not for me! I miss my California weather.’ We promptly got into a conversation about how much she missed her hometown. She’d been in NY much longer than expected, she said, as she leaned halfway into the booth across from me. She went on to say that she was planning to move next year. We had the most delightful conversation about life in New York, California and how much family meant to us. I totally forgot I was the elephant.

I sat at the table in the window, enjoying a glass of Merlot,  watching all the folks as they scurried by. I took her advice and tried the black tagliolini – loved every bite of it.

On my way home I stopped by a little market and treated myself to some flowers. I had conquered a fear, and by doing so, I had been rewarded with such a pleasurable evening. Why not celebrate with flowers!

Yeah, I don’t know what it is about this place. For some it’s the beach. For others it’s the mountains. For me, this city is my special place.

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25 Responses to Ok, Michele, I lied.

  1. Michele Stapleton says:

    You can eat lettuce when you get home!

  2. paynemar says:

    Oh so jealous if your aloneness (is that a word? ) ha, anyway I don’t think I’ve ever eaten alone, at a nice restaurant, you just added that to my bucket list! Have fun

    • lisaweldon says:

      HA! I tried it again last night and just couldn’t make myself step in a place. But then again, I was so tired I was afraid I couldn’t keep my head up for a simple conversation with anyone. I really want to try some of the ‘local’ places around this neighborhood – I don’t know why it’s so hard. My friend writes a blog about eating solo. She does it in Paris: http://www.liquidmarmalade.com

  3. Trudy Wilson says:

    You are the bravest woman I know!

  4. Joanna says:

    You found your soul mate in NYC.

  5. Agree with Michelle – NYC is NOT for lettuce…and yes, always have some flowers! Looking forward to these posts and sharing your adventure!

  6. hicksaholic says:

    I always love to read your blog!

  7. Kristen says:

    I eat alone all the time and haven’t died of embarrassment yet! I do try to always have something to read (book, magazine, kindle), but try not to have my face in it the whole time. Consider this: If you had gone to dinner with a friend, having that conversation with the waitress would have been pretty unlikely, and while you would have had an equally enjoyable evening, you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to give miss waitress a nice memory of NYC. I find that there is a different kind of loveliness in eating solo. Not scary, but an opportunity to quietly observe the world around you. Brava, Lisa!!

  8. Constance Trover says:

    Lisa! Bravo for braving the fear of eating alone in public! Take very opportunity you can as tomorrow is not a given. And, btw, lettuce is for bunnies hahaha!

  9. Pamela thompson says:

    NYC herself is quite a companion! And the food? Always celebratory.proud of you. Enjoy every bite and minute. Xo

  10. Judi Lee says:

    You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
    Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. Judi Lee says:

    I guess I should say “You must do the legal thing you think you cannot do”.

  12. Annie Gillespie says:

    Love your life stories and the way you tell them. Even lettuce would be fattening in N.Y.!

  13. With NYC you Chose a Love that never disappoints!