Friday, July 24, 2015

Dinner Alone

I went to dinner alone last night for the first time in a long while.  Sushi.  It was in the same location as the restaurant I used to go to. . . oh, how long ago?  Fifteen years?  Back then, it was the finest sushi place in town.  It is where the waitresses loved me.  They kept some things I had left at the bar tacked up in their work station, they said.  I dated the most beautiful one for some time.  But the place was sold and went through many bad iterations.  It has recently been bought and redone.  It is the one I go to now on the Boulevard. 

But going alone is a different thing.  Rather than sitting at a table, I sat alone at the bar with my back to the room looking through a glass wall that separated me from their special charcoal grill.  The Japanese chef stood stone faced like a sentry, very rigid, very formal.  There are pretty waitresses, one the most unusually pretty woman I may have ever seen.  She doesn't seem real, rather something made up for a movie.  If I were still doing such things, I would love to photograph her.  She is a complete mystery to me.

Sitting alone eating edamame and drinking sake, I watched the translucent reflection on the glass as the waitresses busied themselves around the room bringing food and drink and clearing tables.  It was like a strange dream, not quite a shadow play for the images had no density at all rather like gossamer.  To my right, however, was the bar and at the end of the bar the placement of the plates to be taken to tables, and I watched the waiters and waitresses as they went about their duties. 

And I thought.  I'd forgotten, really, what it was like to sit in a restaurant alone and think.  There is something about it that deeply satisfies some need in me.  My mind works differently there if not better.  Stories begin to write themselves or at least vignettes.  Overheard snatches of conversation significantly absurd or funny or profound, the artificial voices of men and women on dates or meeting other couples, the forcefully high tones of happy enthusiasm.  The voices of married couples lower and more serious or complaining, the reports of the day's events or familial obligations.  Me, omniscient and apart. 

I wish I had taken a notebook. 

After dinner, I went to the studio.  It seems months.  Everything was as I'd left it like a memory, a reminder.  I poured from a big bottle of Kettle One and roamed about.  Nostalgia. 

Home alone.  A book, a drink, the subtle, warm lamplight.  Reading, then thinking, then sleepiness and bed. 

Today I am still the highest bidder on the Leica.  There are seven hours left.  Someone will sneak in and beat me at the last minute.  Again, either way, I am O.K.  I have home repair shopping to do today that will take my money.  A stormy morning has given way to sunshine.  Let's hope.  That's all there is to do.

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