I have a bit of a mixed history when it comes to being alone. By this, I mean literally alone, not necessarily ‘uncoupled’ (thanks, Gwyneth). Sometimes it’s been successful, like my solitary jaunts into the deep heart of the capital to do research in the British library or to chill at the British museum. Sometimes it has been disastrous (re: my aborted MA at Nottingham, where my loneliness drove me quite literally mad and my mum brought me home for my own safety).
I think that sometimes I absolutely crave contact and company. I just need to be sat in a room with at least one other person and talk and laugh or sometimes even sit in silence, safe in the knowledge that someone, anyone, is there too.
Other times I love being alone. I like the independence that it brings. The fact that I don’t have to worry about schedules or timescales or anything but my own. Today was one of those days. For a big part of it, I was alone, with the parents and dogs visiting family and my brother lifting heavy things at the gym. I recently discovered how nice it is to go to a restaurant by myself. Big step. But it wasn’t as scary or awkward as I thought it would be. By recently, by the way, I mean within the past two years, which maybe isn’t as recent as I’d thought but there you go. I can remember it well; it was the first time I’d gone uptown by myself, and I was taking a slow, leisurely (and filled with browsing and window shopping) walk from the British Museum to Marble Arch. I decided to reward myself (and my bravery) with a bite to eat and a nice, cold Asahi beer in the Soho YO! Sushi. It was a revelation and whilst I do think I prefer to eat out with other people, it’s pretty good alone too.
Today I took myself into Wagamama’s and was shown to one of the smaller benches, made for one to two diners. First time I was seated at one of these, it freaked me out a little. Now, I like it. It’s at the back of the restaurant, against the wall, so you get to look out and survey everyone else there, watch those who talk animatedly as they eat, stealing bites from each other’s plates, or those who sit in silence and enjoy their food. Mine was delicious. I could sit and draft a blog on my phone, peacefully contemplating what else I had to do today and plan out my route around the shops, whilst waiting for my food to be brought. I normally go for the vegetable Katsu curry but today I fancied a Yasai Yaki Soba with a side of Miso and Japanese pickles. I’d forgotten how much I love Miso and Japanese pickles!
I could also take photos without anyone judging me 😉
Then, the day was mine. So I had a right good rummage through Primark (both floors! What luxury!) before picking my way around the town. I was with my brother again for ‘Lad’s Night In’ in the evening, but I had enjoyed a lovely four hours of being by myself. It’s days like these that I think being alone is not so bad.