Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Yesterday, the return of cold(er) weather and creamy tomato soup beckoned me like a moth to a flame to visit my local Panera Bread. This particular Panera is ALWAYS crowded; lunchtime is certainly the worst. I was dining solo, so after getting my food, I paced the restaurant until I found an empty table. It was actually two smaller two-top tables pushed together. I scooted all the way to the wall, so that if it was needed (and surely, it would be) the superfluous two-top table could be extradited from my dining area and repurposed a few feet away as another "private" table for two.

I settled into my chair and did the female version of marking my territory – I put my purse across the table. My spoon had just taken a dive in the delicious soup when a pair of elderly ladies came around the corner looking for seats. No room at the inn.

“You can use this table if you need to,” I helpfully offered. There was a big empty hole in the maze of tables where this table had once been, but as I explained, it had been scooted over to form a large, four-top table where my soup and I were having an awesome first date. I assumed they were going to scoot it back to where it had once been. I moved my purse even closer to me, completely off the extra table, indicating that it was theirs for the taking.

They set their trays down on the table and thanked me for sharing.

And THEN, their friend came around the corner.

I looked at them. They looked at me. I looked at the space in the floor where they were supposed to be moving this table. They looked at their friend. She was making a beeline towards the seat across from me, where my purse was firmly planted.

Oh, hell no.

The friend was a total game changer. I was not about to share my quiet lunch with three little old church ladies. There is not enough soup in the world. I snatched my purse up just as the third wheel pulled up to the table and set. her. tray. down. I grabbed my tray and shot up out of my chair.

“Oh no- you don’t have to go! You don’t have to leave!” they crowed.

“No really, it’s okay. I thought you were going to MOVE the table away. I’ll find another place to sit.”

“Oh are you sure? You don’t have to do that!”

REALLY? I DON’T??? I wanted to ask them what exactly my choices were in this situation: give them my table, or share an awkward lunch with the three of them? This is not Wednesday night Senior Supper. I am not at Panera to make friends. It had been a crummy morning and in the mood I was in, I’d have rather eaten outside… standing up… balancing on one foot… than have sat another minute at that table with the church ladies.

They won the battle but I won the war. As soon as I got up, I spied a nice cozy booth that I was definitely not sharing with anyone, and then treated myself to a Starbucks Toffee Mocha afterward.

The end.


  1. Something similar happened to a friend and me a few weeks ago at a crazy crowded restaurant. Except a large crazy lady and her wild son took the table by us, we politely told her it was taken and she took that to mean she could have our table. She yelled across the way to her friend that we had offered our table?!! WHAT? I was so stunned I couldn't say anything, and she was literally inches into our booth holding her spot. We left and she got her way. Unbelievable.

  2. Lindsay!!!! Awkward.... but I totally would have reacted the same way. At least I hope I wouldn't be too mortified not to get up, because that would so ruin lunch.

    How was that toffee mocha by the way???

  3. Barring the crappy morning...and maybe I'm just missing my Nanna...but friend, you may have missed out. You live in Nashville...who knows how awesome the lives of those women might have been. Who knows if they had a super cute, single grandson who they were not so nonchalantly stalking you for.... Or maybe they were just creepy and rude.

  4. I hate other people. Good for you.


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