Still in Kennewick. The work conference wrapped at 4:45 today, leaving me with the rest of the evening to myself. I had scoped out local wineries (when in Kennewick….) and decided on Barnard Griffin because of it’s proximity to my hotel and because it offers an on-site bistro. So, like a kid released for summer break I busted out of the over-air-conditioned convention center into the warm (78 degrees) afternoon and headed for the winery.
I was taking a risk. At least, a risk for me. I headed for the winery solo. No dinner partner. Me, myself and I. It turned out that I was joined by Zinfandel, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon (three of my favorite companions), but I was the only human at the table.
When I was single I would go to movies alone (hiding in the dark was apparently acceptable), but I would never go to a restaurant by myself. I felt too conspicuous. Too….single. To be honest, I’ve not been to a restaurant by myself since…well, I don’t know when. But, this evening…the weather was beautiful, I’m in an area known for it’s wine…so, really, was I going to just go back to my hotel?
I arrived at the bistro shortly after 5 and headed for the patio. There were two very large tables full of people. I told the waitress that it was just me and took a seat. Reviewed the menu and ordered a wine flight (my previously mentioned friends). It arrived. I sat back, took a deep breath….and life was good.
Now, I must make a confession. I did pick up my iphone. And sent texts to a number of people (including one to the husband telling him I wished he was with me). So, maybe that’s part of the difference. Back in the days of single I didn’t have such an electronic device to provide me with connections when even alone. Perhaps I’m not as cool as I thought. Dining alone. But not quite alone.
And then, the table of three to my right was joined by a fourth. They asked if they could take one of my four chairs. “Sure,” I said, “help yourselves.” A few minutes later the large table to my left (12+ people) was joined by 4 additional people. The waitress started looking around for more chairs. I graciously offered my remaining two. And things began to look like this:
What have I learned from this experience? Well, I prefer to dine with a companion, but I am perfectly capable (and quite comfortable) dining alone. There is a part of me that wonders if part of that confidence comes from the fact that I have a wedding ring on my finger. When I was single I think, at times, I felt acutely single, which would have been exacerbated by dining alone. These days…I’m taken. Off the market. Hitched. Dine alone today, but I’ll be with my husband tomorrow.
I came back to the room and settled in for the night…or so I thought. Last night I noticed the sunset. Not visible from my room, but obviously beautiful over the river. This evening, around 7:45, I looked up when sunset was to occur. 8:13. I’m 5 minutes from the river. I scurried down to the banks of the Columbia and what follows was my (and your) reward. Enjoy!