Peaceful

July 8th 2018

Today I flew back to Berlin for work. We were here last month (I think) for a couple of days, but now I’m back for the entire week, and this time I’m by myself.

As much as I love my own company, the fact that I’m here alone brings with it a very specific challenge:

I’m not usually the kind of person who is comfortable eating in a restaurant by myself. I don’t know why, I’ve just never liked it. Maybe it stems back to when I worked in a restaurant next to the cinema, and I’d serve people who had come in alone before going to the cinema alone, and that made me feel a bit sad.

So maybe that’s why. Whatever it is, it’s a struggle for me. And I’ve got to do it every night for the next five nights.

Tonight, I arrived at the hotel pretty late so the temptation was to either grab something to eat at the hotel bar, or go out and grab a kebab or something. But, I resisted the easy options and went out to explore the local area.

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I’m always amazed at how Berlin, one of Germany’s biggest cities, is always so quiet. There’s no cars on the road or people on the streets. It’s a stark difference to other large cities like London.

I walked around some side streets looking for somewhere to eat. There was one particularly lively place, full of people and music, that looked like it would be good. As a general rule of thumb, if there’s a lot of people in the restaurant then it’s bound to be good food. But, because I was by myself I was put off by the crowds. So I moved on.

Further down the road was a curry house that was deserted. Much more my kind of scene. I sat down with the place to myself and ordered from the German-only menu. Usually I try to mix it up every time I go to a curry house, but my lack of menu-comprehension forced me to play safe.

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Safe, as it turned out, was still pretty good.

While sat there I realised that the hard part of eating alone is entertaining yourself whilst you’re waiting for the food to arrive. My phone was dead and I hadn’t brought a book with me to the restaurant, so I had nothing but my thoughts to occupy me. Well, my thoughts and a German-only newspaper that I struggled to comprehend just as much as I did the menu.

It was surprisingly peaceful, though… just sat there.

Until tomorrow, maybe that peacefulness is what people are looking for when they eat alone.

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