Should you feel the need have lunch at the same time as I do, please do me a kindness: do not sit one table from me, facing me. It is unbelievably awkward and will actually cause me to eat slower.
Should you decide to join my table – which you can always ask, especially when you know me and we share a class, do sit across from me. If I have a book in front of me (usually the case) you will have the duty of holding up the conversation. If this is too much of a burden for you, please join another table. ‘
Deciding to sit down one table further down the road (or in this case lunch hall, corridor, tube-shaped area with tables and seats) and plopping down on the seat facing me is a bad idea. It makes me feel unbelievably awkward, as I would feel the obligation to engage in some sort of intergalactic small-talk, which would have to bridge all of this space for some reason spacing between us. Leaving two halves of a table between us makes it impossible for me to have small-talk related discourse. Phrases such as ‘hello’ and ‘hyvää ruokahalua’ I don’t want to have to shout, nor repeat 7 times.
I know you, we’ve met on several occasions and have had deep discussions on Sake, religion and mental illnesses and how every Russian is some sort of revolutionary business genius. This, in my opinion, makes us better acquainted than two random people in a supermarket or, say, a lunch line.
The minute I look up from my plate there’s eye contact. I have to waste time and energy to decide whether to say something or not, or awkwardly look away, whilst I could have enjoyed my meal over a book.
‘but Doris’, you might ask ‘couldn’t you just ignore the fellow? Can you just not care’ Yes, perhaps that would have been a good idea. But you know, manners. It’s rude to slap someone with silence, particularly when you know them. Also, I am a tad insecure. I can never not care whether people may or may not care on what it is that I deal with at that precise moment. Did that make sense? No? One word: self-conscious. Maybe that was two, but now you get the point.
Could you please do me a kindness and not make my lunch break so excruciating? I like lunch! And most of the week it’s the only meal I got (school schedule is doing wondrous things for my diet). Join me at the same table, or not, and allow me to chew in peace.