Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The gray-haired lady sits alone

It's a middle-schooler's biggest fear: sitting alone in the cafeteria. And today I did it for the first time. It was a little sad, because it reminded me that I have virtually no friends at work. At the age of 60, I am one of the last survivors of a massive age cohort that has all but evaporated into retirement and other (better!) jobs. It reminded me of the wistfulness my parents express when they hear that yet another friend of theirs has died.

My daughter used to beg to stay home rather than face the humiliation of a solitary sitting after she and her best friend had a tiff. Humiliation wasn't in play for me today, and aside from the whiff of melancholy about the way the company has peeled away my work friends, I enjoyed the solitude—especially since I was armed with a really great egg-salad wrap and a free People magazine (I'm a sucker for hard-luck stories about Elizabeth Edwards). And then there was this delightful mention in a review of "The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag," by Alan Bradley: "Bradley, who made his debut as a novelist at 73, plans four more Flavia adventures. The first two are utterly beguiling." Hell, I've got a whole lifetime of achievement ahead of me!


Giovanna said...

how the patterns repeat themselves. the gray-haired lady sitting alone in the cafeteria feels like a replay of the teenager. you think of your daughter in jhs and i can't help but imagining you as a teenager eating alone at your school cafeteria table because of a tiff or because because you are too smart for that clique.... but no, you are always so inclusive. so it's them that, being teenagers, reject you rather than feeling outclassed. you see how you get my imagination going. and now as then dreaming of the achievements ahead in this mazelike recurring pattern

Mia said...

Giovanna! How delightful to have you stop by! And how delightful it was to be two gray-haired ladies sitting together last night!

Robin Amos Kahn said...

I enjoyed the description of the solitude and the pleasure at having a quiet lunch with some good reading. I love any time I can find when I'm sitting quietly and the egg salad sounded great!

Right now I've been dealing with house guests and although I love them, I am so ready to have more time alone again.

Morgan said...

How I miss splurging on greens at your company cafeteria ... how I wish I can sit together with the two gray-haired beauties for a meal and a chat, soon!