“Desperate times breed desperate measures”–William Shakespeare
On most days I have lunch alone, either here at Doright Manor or at one of a handful of Tallahassee cafes. Now, before you feel sorry for me you need to know that I enjoy my solitary lunches. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy having lunch with Studly Doright or with a friend, but when I dine alone I pull my Kindle out of my purse and read. And there are few things I’d rather do than read.
One day last week I had a whole list of errands to run, most of them in Tallahassee. I planned the most efficient route and left home around 10 a.m. with the goal of having lunch at the best little vegan eatery in the world, Sweet Pea Cafe.
With my errands halfway done, I drove to Sweet Pea and ordered that day’s special, Tempeh Temptation. I found a table and reached into my purse for my Kindle. Hmmm. No Kindle. I searched every zippered compartment with no luck.
“That’s okay,” I said to myself. “Just read from the Kindle app on your phone.”
“You’re so brilliant!” I answered.
“I know.” I said.
Unfortunately my brilliant self had managed to leave my phone at home as well.
As I waited for the meal to arrive I wondered how I was supposed to eat without a book in hand. How does one do such a thing?
“You can do this,” I gently reminded myself. “Just be more mindful of your meal. Pay attention to every bite. People watch. Listen to the music playing. Enjoy the experience.”
“Shut up! I NEED my book. Or just something, anything, to read.”
Gee, one of us needs anger management therapy.
In the midst of my angst I noticed a woman who’d been reading from a book as she dined at the table nearest mine. She’d finished her meal and as I watched from the corner of my eye saw that she was preparing to leave.
I hesitated for a second before asking, “Excuse me, this is going to sound weird and slightly desperate, by I don’t suppose you have an extra book that I might buy from you.”
Now, the beauty of this is she totally understood my question. The sad part is that she’d just returned from a trip to see her sister and had given the sister a box full of books that she usually carried in her car.
We laughed about our respective reading addictions. She apologized for not having a book to offer. I laughed and told her no big deal while underneath my smile I was thinking, “Couldn’t you at least have saved one book for us, I mean, me?”
She left the cafe as my meal arrived and I began to eat in a desultory fashion. The food was excellent as always, but damn it, how could I enjoy myself when there were intrepid space explorers trapped on an exoplanet in my book, and how the heck was I going to save them if I couldn’t read the remainder of chapter 55 while I chewed?
That’s when an angel came to my rescue. The woman who’d taken a box of books to her sister came triumphantly back into the cafe waving a book.
“Look what I found,” she smiled.
“It must’ve fallen out of the box. It’s yours if you want it….”
I wanted to hug her, but I restrained myself, offering effusive thanks as I tried to pay her.
“Absolutely not!” she said. “I don’t know how anyone can eat alone without a good book for company.”
A true￼ hero, that woman.
I opened the book and began a new adventure. John Grisham paired quite nicely with Tempeh Temptation.