My parents think I don't cope well with solitude. When I pointed out the fact that I live by myself, they said it didn't count. Because of The Doctor. Apparently even though he, oh, I don't know, CAN'T TALK because he's A CAT doesn't count. "He's still family," said Mum, who was knitting him a little cat-shaped vest for next winter, having ignored my advice that a) his fat stores keep him warm enough and b) horizontal stripes are not his friend. (I'm praying knitting is not on my challenge horizon. At least the needles may come in handy as a weapon.) Anyway, my father in particular believes that it's an adult skill -- sorry: Adult Skill -- to be able to go to a restaurant and have a solo meal. "And Anise's doesn't count, either " he barked.
So last night I went to Hellas Kitchen to have Greek.
"Table for...?" The waiter was looking down the street, as if my posse was about to roll up for koupepia and fish.
With that single word, I could see the panic in his eyes. But I ignored it. Like I ignored the people at the next table eyeing me like I was some kind of social retard, forced to dine alone after an unfortunate Exorcist-like episode. And like I ignored the pitying stares of the women having a girls' night a few tables away. At one point they raised their glasses to me; I still don't know quite how they meant it. "Suck on that!", I'm thinking.
On the plus side, Paris the waiter seemed to be having a personal challenge of his own; he clearly thought I'd been stood up, and tried to make it up to me. He took great care to point out the specials of the day, recommended what turned out to be a superb bottle of Riesling, and kept solicitously asking if there was anything else he could get me. Despite his (rather attractive) attentions, I got so bored I ended up dissecting my handbag and purging all of the expired gift cards and old video store memberships for something to do. I also found a tiny notebook and started making my own challenge revenge list, shortly to be inflicted upon other people.
By the end of the bottle (and after creating a list that includes my father having to sit through a Kate Hudson movie marathon -- enough to break any man's spirit), I was feeling considerably more chipper. And then came the best part: Paris comped me dinner.
Consider this challenge dusted.