Panera once again serves as the place of my most recent people watching fiasco. There I am, sitting alone, eating my soup and sandwich when I notice the sad stares of a table full of men. I’m willing to bet anything they design video games or nuclear weapons, or both. Anyway, this table full of men who are most likely all in their late thirties are starting me down, I mean it was just without a doubt happening. I tried to look away and tell myself I was being paranoid, but no, it was clear they were locked in on me. So, of course, I started getting super antsy. Did I have something on my face? Could they even see this alleged face maiming spot from where they were sitting? Then I wondered, were they all watching me because I was eating alone? Were they pitying me? Then, the two people sitting in front of me were in conversation when I watched one of them look back and do the whole “i’m looking at the door as an excuse to swing my head around and stare at the person my friend just referenced” move. It was so suave, obviously. I was eating a sandwich, not dancing King David style in a morgue, but apparently these things are hard to differentiate between.
Then, a woman dressed like a sugar powdered Dalila lama comes strolling by. She’s gorgeous, probably around forty (but actually looks more like 25) and is strutting her stuff. She walks out one door and as she does, she turns to curtsy to her friends, in front of the table of video game/explosive material designers. It fazed no one. I was in shock. This gorgeous woman just pulled a Julie Andrews in the middle of Panera while dressed like she’s doing yoga in the middle of Cancun and no one is reacting. I’m eating a sandwich in sweatpants and I’m like a rat on their hamster wheel in a science lab. I felt so incredibly uncomfortable.
It was within the next three times that Yoga Barbie came in and out of the cafe that I started to get really weirded out. Every single time she entered in a different door and exited through another. I wish I was kidding. She just randomly walked in and out of different entrances and exits to Panera multiple times as if it was just another stroll in the park. No more purchases, no stops or reasons for it happening. She was just going for it. I started wondering if it was a new workout regimen. Perhaps she’s from California, where all the latest trends emerge. Watch out Hipsters, the new fad is flowy white outfits, a laps around the place you’re eating at, and bringing back the what is now considered “vintage” act of curtsying. It’s kind of genius, I wish I would have thought of it first. She will probably be on TLC one day and Oprah will recommend her book, which without a doubt will be called Ring Around The Restaurant.
I just find it odd that all of this is going on and no one was even taking note. Rather, I only attracted more attention to myself because I began to laugh out loud and talk to myself, uttering things like “is this really happening?” under my breath. It was, in fact, happening though. In the end, I don’t know why everyone was staring at me. I think it goes back to my previous theory about eating alone in restaurants, especially when you’re young. It’s weird. Going to a movie alone (which I did last night)? Weird. There’s just this fascination that comes over people. Really, it just makes me happy. I’m thinking about how much I enjoy the solitude and everyone else is wondering what kind of social disease I have. What really kills me is everyone thinks it’s sweet when an old person eats alone and they croon about how sad it is and the love of their life probably died from respiratory failure. Where as with me, I always assume they’re thinking: She must be a cat lover, myspace user or have a duck face profile picture. Because well, why else would I be eating alone?
I suppose will never understand what runs through the mind of video game/weapon makers who have pocket protectors and are unfazed by glamorous women doing a solo game of Musical Doors. And today, I think I’m okay with that.
(And for those of you who may be pitying me like those tables of people… I was met by a friend later on, after I’d finished eating. Unfortunately, there were just no eyewitnesses to report back to them).