losing my lunch.

why i order water

I’m terrible about lunch dates.  You know how sometimes you have to meet people for lunch that you don’t know very well?   Usually it’s to discuss some upcoming project or something like that.   I’m bad at this.  I get too nervous.  I always end up coming too early.  I’ll show up and ask the host/hostess “I’m looking for someone.”  Have I mentioned I’m bad with names?  I’ll be like, “I think his name is Peter.”

[scripty]
HOST
Do you have a last name?

PAMIE
Ribon.

HOST
Peter Ribon?

PAMIE
No, that’s my last name.  Oh, you wanted his last name.

HOST
Generally.

PAMIE
Right.  Um.  I don’t know it.

HOST
Well, do you have a reservation?

PAMIE
I don’t know.  He made it.  I think he may have.  I’m not sure.  I don’t know him very well.

HOST
Right.  I see that.

PAMIE
Can I just look on your little list there?

HOST
No.   Do you know what he looks like?

PAMIE
No.

HOST
What time were you to meet?

PAMIE
In about fifteen minutes.

HOST
Why don’t you have a seat, Miss…

PAMIE
Pam.

HOST
Okay, Miss Pam.  Just sit there and when someone comes in looking for someone, I’ll direct them your way and you can decide if that’s Peter.  I’ll even send over the women.

PAMIE
Thanks.
[/scripty]

It usually turns out that Peter is actually Jake and I don’t know how I got the names confused.  Then comes the worst part– the first sit-down.  I put my napkin on my lap first, because there’s some part of my brain that my parents infused with fears of getting food on my clothes.  I don’t carry a purse.  I don’t like purses because they can’t hold all of my things.  I have this very large bag and it’s too big and I lose things in there all the time.  This is usually the part of the lunch date where I’ll bend down to put my bag under the table because it tripped some other customer, and I’ll put my hand on the table to anchor my weight, but end up hitting one end of a fork and flipping it in the air and over to the next table.  I’ll flip back up to apologize and knock over a glass of water.

I’ve broken bottles of olive oil, bottles of wine, plates, bowls.  I’m like Jerry Lewis over here.

Then I’m freaking out over the menu.  Once all of my mess gets cleaned up I try and find a plate that isn’t too messy.  For some reason two-thirds of all lunch dates happen at Italian restaurants.  If I’m not paying for the meal then I’m looking for something not too expensive, and not too messy.  Eric claims I’m a picky eater and won’t try anything new.  I just know what I like and don’t like and I don’t want anything called “chipotle” near my food.

So once I find something that’s not too messy, not too big, not too pricey, then I order my drink.  If I don’t know the person I’m with, I always drink water.  I think it’s because I’m not much of a drinker, and I don’t really want a glass of wine with my lunch, and I feel like I’m seven if I order a Coke.  So I stick with water.

This may come as a shock to you, but around strangers, I’m incredibly shy.  I don’t know what to say about myself or what questions to ask. I’m terrible at asking questions.  I’m always afraid I’ll ask the wrong one.

[scripty]
PAMIE
So, uh, where are you from?  That’s an interesting accent.

LUNCH PERSON
My parents locked me in a basement for the first fifteen years of my life and I didn’t learn to communicate until they died and people found me when they came to demolish the house.

PAMIE
Oh.  Have you tried this arugula?  It’s delicious.
[/scripty]

I never feel like I’m sitting correctly, either.  Should I cross my legs?  Should they be crossed at the ankles?  How’s my posture?  I always feel like I’m sitting like a big slouch or I look like I just got finished with Swan Lake.

I look around when I’m talking to people.  I often check out the people sitting around me.  This comes from Eric, who pretends he’s a CIA spy half of the time and is always looking around, or sometimes looks over my shoulder to check out the sports scores on the television behind me.  Consequently I have the habit of looking around as well, as that’s what I do when Eric and I are out.  This comes off as I’m so bored I can’t bear to look at the person I’m with anymore.  It’s worse when I’m aware of it, because I’ll start looking around and then I’ll force myself to look at the person I’m with and then I’ll start drifting away or I’ll look away when I talk.  I’m terrible.

I shouldn’t leave the house.  Really.  Ever.

Once the meal is over it’s that weird time where you have to decide if you want dessert.  I rarely do, but I like a cup of coffee.  I don’t usually eat lunches, so I’m used to coffee after dinner, but I don’t know if that’s what I really want after lunch.  Plus, I don’t know if the person that I hardly know really wants to continue sitting with the geeky klutz who spilled Ranch Dressing on the table and looks away like it wasn’t her fault.  So, I usually decline and then there’s that awkward moment of saying goodbye, we’ll call each other, blah, blah, blah.  When do you hug and when do you shake hands?  Last night I got stuck in that arm out-kinda-shaking-hands-but-he-really-wanted-a-hug so our arms got all crossed and I ended up cramming my head into his underarm.  I get my head crammed in a lot of people’s underarms.  I’m such a dork.

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