September 26, 2013
Today I realized that it has been two weeks since I shared a meal with another human.
I think the majority of the other meals have been in front of the TV. A significant part have been in front of the YouTubes. I think the rest of the meal-time accompaniment was an even split between my phone (probably because I’m at a restaurant) and a word document/other homework assignment.
I made this realization today when someone extended a lunch invitation via e-mail (I am much relieved that it wasn’t on the spot). Ordinarily I don’t decline, but I don’t really know the other person all that well and I have zero confidence in my conversation skills. While trying to think of a nice way to say “No. Not now, not ever,” I realized that I could legitimately say, “No thanks, I don’t eat with other people.” The last time I remembered sharing a meal it was my birthday–a special occasion. And I don’t remember the time before that. But, it was probably at least two weeks.
I don’t think I’m opposed to eating with others–just with people the idea of sharing a meal with whom makes me uncomfortable. Restated a little more articulately: As a general rule, I’m not opposed to eating with others. However, the idea of sharing a meal with certain people makes me uncomfortable and I would almost certainly turn down those invitations. Then why not eat with anyone else? It’s one of the most natural things that people do.
For me, I think it’s a product of my schedule. Usually I’ll eat twice a day: once between 2 and 3 or so and then again later, usually between 8 and 9. For most people, these aren’t normal fooding times, so there just aren’t others around to eat. Also, I don’t know anyone, which is probably a bigger factor than the first one. But, they two are somewhat interrelated.
So, I’m curious now: how often do you eat with others? Also, how often should someone eat with others? In my quest to better understand my humanity, I don’t know if this is something I should change.
Also, do you have any good ideas for how to tell someone to nicely bug off? If you have a “it’s not you, it’s me”-type speech, I’d love to hear it.