Don’t Pity that Girl Eating Alone

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I used to think of people eating alone as a sad scene. I assumed they were lonely and I hoped, for their sake, that companionship would come their way. Now, rather than pitying them, I just get jealous that they found some alone time. I see being alone as a blessing rather than a curse, especially because in college, I seem to be around other people all of the time.

My incredible new college friends and I study together, eat together, sleep together and sometimes even live together. We know every aspect of each other and I am extremely thankful for all of the meaningful relationships that college has brought to my life. Sometimes I just need some time to myself, ya know?

Every now and then, if I’ve had a hard, tiring week or if I’m too exhausted to ask about someone else’s day, I’ll try to go eat alone as a desperate attempt to refresh.

Sometimes I spend all day fantasizing about a quiet corner booth in the dining hall. I remember one particular Wednesday, when dinner time came around, I slipped on my jacket, grabbed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and tiptoed out of my dorm and towards the dining hall.

My greatest fear in this sneaky moment was hearing the sound of my suitemate’s voice yelling out into the hall and asking me where I was going, or if I had eaten yet, and thus ruining my expedition.

If I were to tell my friends that I just need some time to decompress they would totally understand. But when you think about it, there seems to be some inherently human resistance to eating alone. So, I sneak out to avoid contrasting with the wills of human nature.

Thankfully, I made it to dinner without friends forcing me to explain why I looked like the Pink Panther walking out the door. Despite that success, I still couldn’t relax. I added extra precautions just in case.

Dinner plate in-hand, I tucked Harry Potter under my arm and made a beeline for the back corner of the dining hall. And that’s not all. Turning my phone off was another important aspect of my elaborate solo­ dinner­ scheme. By doing this, I avoided answering the inevitable “wya” or “wyd”. When I conveniently turned my phone back on after dinner, I could honestly say that I had already eaten. I see it as a win-win; my friends will probably find another dinner date and I enjoyed dining hall food alone.

With my spy skills, I was able to successfully achieve the ideal me-time. Nothing’s better than cuddling up in a corner with some good food and a good book. Carving out some alone time equips me with a clear mind and a peaceful heart, so I plan to continue my sneaking as long as I can get away with it.

An enthusiastic thinker, writer, student, advocate of poiesis, woman who supports women, Tar Heel sophomore double majoring in Comparative Literature and Public Relations.

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