I go days, even weeks these day without leaving my own property. It’s not a problem, and I am perfectly happy. I am fortunate to have family just a hundred feet away, a loving dog for companionship (and nagging, demanding behavior), and many friends who come for happy hour or a light supper. I am also happy with my own company, have plenty to keep me occupied, and sometimes find myself longing for a bit of solitude. So all that is of my own design and is a good thing.
Still, I find I miss restaurant dinners. I keep up with reviews and announcements of new restaurants, I drool over menus, I crave the sociability and atmosphere (though I often find the food at home is better), and I should probably make a list. Tonight I went out to dinner with three friends who try to dine together more than occasionally. We went to a new restaurant (in a jinxed location) that I had suggested, and it was a medium success. I had sliders and Caesar salad—sliders were good, not great, a bit dry, but the Caesar salad was terrific. Not tossed like most salads, but served the way Caesar was originally meant to be—individual romaine leaves loaded with dressing and grated Parmesan. Two of my friends had had pasta alla carbonara and enjoyed it thoroughly. But, alas, the fourth had eggplant parmigiana which looked to be a small if artful serving. She reported however that the dish was too salty and the eggplant tough. You have to work hard to make eggplant tough. At our urging, she told our waitperson, but nothing ever happened. I would think they would have sent out a manager to apologize, comp the meal, etc. but nada. That doesn’t mean we’ll write the restaurant off, but none of us will order eggplant again.
But what I learned, just for me, is that going out so changes my thinking so that I spend the whole day in anticipation. Not anxious, none of that stuff, just a different sense that I am going out that evening, and I am waiting for it to happen. With the result that I don’t get as much done in a day. I don’t buckle down to any serious, big work, because, you know, “I’m going out to dinner.” All that means, of course, is that I should go out more often, but I find when the opportunity arises, I often say, “Oh, just let me cook.” And that’s partly because I do enjoy cooking and feeding friends and family, but also partly because I don’t want to gear myself up to go out.
That of course leads me into a bit of guilt or angst or a case of the “shoulds.” I really must get over that, I tell myself. I must make more of an effort to get out. But then another voice in my head asks, “Why?” It’s not as though I am miserable and lonely. In fact, I have plenty of company, and I am in many ways more content than I have ever been in my life.
This is one of life’s dilemmas—granted not a major one—where I guess the answer is in the middle of the road. So I’ll continue to go out occasionally and to enjoy folks in my cottage more often.
Sigh. Tomorrow, I have to go out for medical appointments. Now that’s a whole different thing!