Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Last Dance

Last Friday was my last day at work.  I loved my job, but my boss retired and my employment was tied to hers so I had to leave.  I have never been good with change, so my plan was to just deny that it was happening and break down when I got home.  This would have been a great plan except on your last day of work everyone wants to remind you that it's your OMGLASTDAY.  So, I couldn't really deny. Luckily my makeup held up through the day.

I decided that I wanted to treat myself on my last day.  The biggest treat at work was going to lunch at The Saint Paul Grill.  "The Grill" is a fancy restaurant attached to the fanciest hotel in the city, The Saint Paul Hotel.  I'm a bit partial to SPH as our wedding reception was held there, but I have actually loved it for years.  I often went to lunch at their more casual restaurant, Mike and I have gone there to celebrate special occasions, the bar has great champagne cocktails, and they have a fabulous tea service.  If you have never done their high tea service you are really missing out!

I had made a plan, I was going to lunch by myself (avoiding anyone who wanted to talk about my last day) at the Grill.  I was going to have their glorious Landmark Salad and probably a side of french fries.  Don't judge!  A last day at work deserves french fries.  I was also going to have a glass of Diet Coke.  At the Grill you get your Diet Coke in an adorable little glass bottle.  It makes me feel like I'm in a commercial.  This plan was the only happy thing in my last day of work.

I got to the Grill just a smidge before noon to beat the Friday afternoon madness.  I asked the hostess if I could sit at a table in the bar.  "Is it just you?" she asked.  Yep, just me.  She told me to pick a table in the bar area then.  I went to one of the high-top tables.  A waiter quickly brought me a glass of water and asked if I needed a menu.  He quickly came back with a bread basket and a menu.  My lunch hour was off to the perfect start.

Then I waited.  You know how terrible it is to eat alone at a busy restaurant.  I mean it's super horrible. You feel like people are looking at you.  Even though no one actually is looking at you because no one cares about you, you still feel like you are the center of every one's world and they are all wondering why you are dining alone.  That is the self-centered but glorious truth of eating by yourself.

I persevered.  I didn't care if people were looking.  I just wanted my salad, fries, and Diet Coke.  But as I sat alone I started to think about my job ending and I got a few tears in my eyes.  The couple next to me definitely looked over as I tried to sniff them away.

Then I had that moment.  That awkward dining moment where you realize that everyone sitting around you was seated after you but has already received their entrees.  I don't handle this moment well.  I have hanger issues.

I realized that I had been sitting at the table by myself with only a bread basket to talk to for 35 minutes.  But I had eaten an embarrassing amount (read: all) of the bread.  I wasn't sure what the bread basket etiquette was.  I had to be back at work at 1:00 p.m. for a meeting, so didn't have time anymore to order.  Did I leave a few dollars for the bread?  Where the hell was my waiter?!  I couldn't hunt anyone down to give them my last three dollars for eating a half loaf of bread!  But if I just left I didn't want to look like a thief.

I ended up going up to the bar and waiting for a bartender to come out of the kitchen area.  When one finally did materialize I tried to had her $3 for the bread and she said "You don't have to pay for bread and bad service."  So I left a carby, bloated, teary mess.  I was also hangry.  Luckily Mike had gotten me donuts that morning, and I still had one left.

And that, my friends, is how I will always remember my last day of work.  

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