Last night I went to a BBQ at Burlington Square, courtesy of the two teachers who run the chair yoga weekly class at the Kampong Glam Community Club.
Apart from the ex-colleague who had introduced me to the class, I don’t really know the other guests (also from the yoga class) or the hosts, as we just meet to exercise and after the session, it’s a hurried good-bye as everyone goes her way.
It’s a change to eat with almost-strangers in a social context, instead of what I’ve been doing too often of late: eating with strangers at work shops or semi-business prospecting.
It’s also a change from eating with old-old friends and family members where our conversation is often a predictable yawn because we keep on going over ancient grounds.
Still, eating with old table companions or new ones in a social or business context may be better than eating solo, according to the advice from “The Nordic Diet”, a book which hopes to win some following from those wanting a healthy life thru food.
Written by Trina Hahnemann who contributes to Denmark’s popular women’s weekly magazine, Alt For Damerne, the book listed eating in company as one of the prime ingredients of a healthy diet. “Use meal times to catch up with family and friends,” the author exhorted.
That’s an ideal that may not always be possible because of time constraints, especially the mid-day meal when too many of us, especially those who hold full-time jobs, need to max out any slack from day light hours for errands, hobbies etc
In any case, I enjoy playing Greta Garbo occasionally, eating alone, staring into space, free from pointless and unelightening chit chat. This is especially when the alternative is to eat with querulous company.
I also remember a time when my home used to be filled to the gills. Then it was sheer luxury to grab a meal alone in front of the TV while the other inhabitants were out!
This said, I understand the concern my mother expressed when we ran into an ex-boss of mine at the club today, lunching alone, again.
I had told mum previously about his one-time busy social life and packed diary that used to put me in awe when I was a wide-eyed rookie and he head of a section.
How things have changed since he stopped working full-time about 10 years ago. Every time I’ve run into him at the club, he was alone.
Today mum whispered: “What’s happened to his family?”
I whispered back: “He’s got a girlfriend but she’s busy running a business…”
I suppose my ex-boss could still have a packed social calendar had he been inclined to finance meals for friends and acquaintances. But what for? The bright life is over and networking for networking’s sake is such a waste — of time and money!
He may look lonely and heart-wrenching to those of us who knew him in his prime but only he knows whether the table for one that he so often occupies at the club is Hobson’s choice or his preferred choice!
After a full working life packed with official meals, he too might, just might, relish eating alone.