Here are some things I did not do at lunch yesterday:
• I did not place a complicated order that required food preparers to vary from what was on the prescribed menu.
• I did not take more than two napkins—even for a burrito.
• I did not have to make multiple trips back to the counter for more straws, spoons, drinks, etc.
• I did not have to caution anyone on proper behavior.
For the last week now, I have had the freedom to choose when and where I eat my lunch and the leisure to eat it in the company of my own thoughts. For the first time in nearly ten years. Even the manager noticed yesterday. “The kids in school?” he asked. Yes, we were regulars there.
I told him of my newfound liberty. Like everyone else I’ve told, he asked me what I was going to do with all my free time. “Work!” I answered like the long-time dry workaholic embarking on a medically sanctioned bender.
It wasn’t long, though, before I noticed some other things I didn’t do at lunch yesterday:
• I did not play table hockey with the wadded up burrito foil and straws.
• I did not have anyone to hold my hand in the parking lot.
• I did not have anyone tell me my how beautiful my daughters are.
I thought, Danged if you don’t, danged if you do. Yes, danged. Because, even though I’m alone now, I’m still in the habit of watching my language.
And that way, I guess, a part of my girls is always with me.