This is what happens.
When asked at the door, "How many will being dining tonight?" and you reply "A table for one." the adventure has just taken a turn.
You usually get a table by the kitchen door or the bathroom. Small, with barely room for salt and pepper and two settings which is quickly reduced.
Like a second hand citizen your order takes longer as you are left in the dark to entertain yourself.
Others turn and stare then comment to each other describing their thoughts on the reason one person sits at a table – alone. “Perhaps he is waiting for someone?” “It’s so sad.” “Maybe his date didn’t show up?” then their conversation changes to the reviews of their meals washed down with laughter and wine.
Without electronic appliances to entertain during the wait, one can observe the faces of other town folk who have left the warmth and safety of their homes to wander out to an establishment for a dining experience.
Some look bored as if this is a weekly tradition that must be observed. Some are engulfed in fascinating wonder of each others words losing the interest in the meal. Some are regulars recognizing and acknowledging others in the room as in a sales meeting. Some are family groups with adults discussing the births, deaths and success under the same name as the children squirm.
Some times there are few in the room except for bored wait staff wrapping silver wear in napkins and telling lies to busboys anxiously waiting for a couple to leave a booth while the manager at the cash register scans his emails.
The wallpaper pattern is studied against the shadows of the twirling overhead fans. Even paintings probably purchased at the local box store attract a scrutiny while a background soundtrack of clinking glasses and dull mumble of a variety of voices and stories fills the air.
If really creative, one can look at a table of people and decide what their names are, what they do for a living, where they live, all by their body language, clothing and menu choices, but there is no one to share this revelation with.
Once the meal arrives with perhaps a pleasant comment from the delivery person, then again, perhaps not a decision must be made. Should the preparation be savored and enjoyed or merely consumed as quickly as possible to get on with the task at hand.
Life is funny that way.