How Far with No Reservations?

The pup and I did what most single girls do on the last night of their work week: We watched an On Demand movie, and on this night it was “No Reservations.”

I was prepared to gag at the trying-to-portray-frantic restaurant kitchen scenes, to scoff at the bucolic shots of seemingly tasty family meals, to groan at the predictable happy-ending-but-not-before-it’s-sad story line. I did do all of those things, but only to a certain extent. Because the movie seemed to reign it in just shy of being stupid. Stupid loomed, absolutely, but so did a certain truth that kept the stupid from being too stupid.

Movie: A fine-dining kitchen is a fun scene to behold; it is clean and bright and almost calm when the rush hits.

What I Have Lived: Um, sure. Okay, no.

Movie: A certain camaraderie exists between the staff, even when they inherently despise each other.

What I Have Lived: Yup. Really. A fine line, for sure.

Movie: Chefs are so cool and drop-dead handsome and so romantic.

What I Have Lived: Sure, except they are 25 years old, or they are older and married. Or coked out. Or drunk 20 out of 24 hours. I know, I know, stop with the stereotypes.

Movie: Apartments are huge and perfectly decorated and filled with windows with exposures in every direction.

What I Have Lived: I look out on other apartments out back. I look out on my pool out front. Given I am in SoFla and not in NYC, I have an incredible view from one exposure. Decorated? You mean mostly unpacked, right?

As the movie went on, I found myself unmoved during the so-called sad parts and sobbing at the happy romance scenes. Which made me want to slap myself to get a grip, but also allowed me to forget getting the grip and to remember and wonder about so many times before that seem to have converged here.

I used to run six miles or so most mornings. I used to smoke two packs a day, but that was way before I ever ran one mile, much less six. Running and smoking, here we have two re-visits, a couple of do-overs. Please. No one get crazy here. I am not a smoker these days, any more than I am a ‘real” runner. But I dabble in both for different reasons, at different times.

Just like I dabble in watching “On Demand” movies now that the boy I was recently seeing no longer feels a need to see me. Now that the dog I adopted seems content to ‘dance’ with me on my nights off and can’t understand why I can’t dance for four hours straight. Now that I have been deemed “too sweet and wholesome” to be called again by the TV star, the star with whom I accepted a cigarette and a couple of great kisses and declined everything else.

As much as this journey of aloneness and independence mostly sucks, it is sometimes just as cool as the movies depict, just as my friends and even some of my readers hope it is.

–“I would give anything for my own apartment. My own place. My own space,” says one.

–“Oh, to not have to worry about dinner for anyone other than for me,” says another.

–“To just be alone, to read, to do whatever I wanted to do,” comments one more.

–“To go out and meet new people and feel the thrill of a new romance again,” remarks another.

Oh, I know these sentiments well. I have even felt them, now and then. But more now than then, this is my now:

–My own space and apartment is mine all mine, and I love that. But it is fraught with repair issues that never get answered by my stupid landlord. And it has a perpetual need to be cleaned in order to prevent the Florida vermin from deciding this adorable apartment is a great place to camp. And I won’t lie, some nights, it can feel very large and lonesome in this adorable place.

–As for worrying about dinner, Mr. Restaurant Gal is a cook extraordinaire, so back in D.C., I never worried about dinner so much as I worried about how much oil or butter he was dumping into one of his really great-tasting dishes. Here, however, dinner is usually a mirror image of breakfast–eggs and tortillas or chips and dip. And I was okay with that, because I didn’t have to care for anyone beyond myself. Until this week, when I decided to cook for what passes as cooking for me. The aforementioned healthy soup spread its warmth for three days. Tonight, corn pasta cooked in chicken broth, topped with tomatoes, garlic, spinach and cheese was a treat for dinner. So, I guess I am cooking whatever I want. I just never knew that I wanted to cook anything.

–Alone is so good, until it turns to lonely, and it usually does. Sorry, it does. I don’t read because I am too tired or I am writing or I just don’t feel like reading, which falls under the doing ‘what I want to do’ category. Just remember, the thrill is quickly gone when you can do anything and everything you want to do. Because suddenly, you have no direction.

–New people, really good. Thrill of new romance, so fun. Ultimately, however, the new people become known too well and new romance fizzles. Not to be a downer or anything.

In the movie, it all turns out okay.

In my life as I lived it today, I ran farther than I have ever run. And I wondered, when will it be far enough? When will I know that I am supposed to be here and not there? When will I get it that I am okay in my job, even when my GM curses the business I bring him? When will I get it that I am okay as romance ebbs and flows? When will I get it that budding friendship comes at you from such unexpected corners of your life, and then know when to accept it?

Today, I could have run many miles more. Today, I never wanted to stop running. It wouldn’t have made any difference, however. It wouldn’t have been far enough. It never is. That only happens in the movies.






13 responses to “How Far with No Reservations?”

  1. yoyo Avatar

    “Alone is so good, until it turns to lonely, and it usually does”
    So true, so true!
    I’ve recently broken up with long time partner and every thing seems so big and scary.

    And there’s no shame in enjoying a tacky film now and then. Even sleepless in seattle…!

  2. Rick Avatar

    “Alone is so good, until it turns to lonely, and it usually does.”

    I’ll admit that I go through periods of being lonely in my single life, but that’s where friends, family, and pets can fill the void. When it’s needed, of course, which, for me personally, is not “usually.”

    In my case, the option of adding people to my day is a lot better than not being able to remove them.


  3. Tinker Avatar

    Since my stroke all sorts of manipulative movie tricks will make me cry while I curse the buffoons who perpetrated those same tricks. So I fall in love with the girl, in nothing flat, and if by chance it does not work out I am haeratbroken at the end. So, I don’t watch many recent movies, I watch the simplest movies over and over again. The Quiet Mam, Americanization of Emily, Rio Bravo, Notting Hill, (most anything with hugh grant seems to be a guarnteed hit, even Lair of the White Worm.

    My wife will look at me as if I have lost my mind, which while not strictly true, is true enough to piss me off.

    And this better than your life? How? You’re not going into a depression are you? (Why not, the rest of the country is?) Just watch Mary Poppins, where there is a poor wretched chimney sweep who is so happy he bounces around on the ceiling.

  4. Lana Wood Avatar

    This is very good writing. You made me cry because I understand how you feel. How brave of you to be so naked and share. Though I have never been in the position of trying to figure out what to do, or not do, about my marriage, since I have never made that particular commitment, I can understand it must be a very scary and exhilirating time for you. I think when you are in the midst of a major change in your life, you need to be alone, so you have room to think. It is very lonely sometimes, but it is also very necessary. When you feel lonely, take the time to figure out what you are lonesome for, so you can find it, and not a poor substitute for it. I am just coming out of an exteneded period of major change in my life (parents got sick and died, changed jobs THREE times, graduated from college, bought parents house and been working on it ever since, amused self with inapproprioate men) and now that I am feeling like myself again, only better, I have gotten involved in lots of stuff. but I needed to wait until I was ready to go out and take over the world. I needed a rest and to be alone for awhile. It was worth it. I am sure, when you are ready, you will have no reservations and a seat at the table. Oh, and P.S. I cry at dog food commercials. I am a sucker for emotionally manipulative marketing in all forms. I cried at the wrong time at that crappy movie too. :o)

  5. Lorraine Avatar

    HUGS to you my dear. – L

  6. Ex-Restaurant Manager Avatar

    I really, really, disliked the movie. Yes, I know it was made for escapism, to be entertained. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant, though, would be constantly pointing out things that don’t ring true. Like those pristine white aprons (yeah, right!).

    Have you seen “Waitress” yet? Loved that movie!

    Great post, RG!

  7. Michael Avatar

    RG, Lana, Ex-RM

    Run, do not walk, to your favorite DVD outlet and pick up a copy of Mostly Martha. NR is by all accounts a feeble shadow of the original movie. I refuse to see NR as I enjoyed (several times) Mostly Martha so well.

    Note that Mostly Martha is available in German only with English subtitles.

  8. Don the retired restaurant manager Avatar
    Don the retired restaurant manager

    Hey RG,

    I can hardly eat in a restaurant without pointing out all the things that are
    wrong…movies about restaurants are even worse!
    As far as finding yourself….its almost like watching that movie, its easy to point out the things that are wrong in our life because we know them so well, but its really hard to single out the good parts, we never are able to give enough credit to ourselves, and often we are emotional at the wrong times, and dont share the emotions at the right times. RG, just by following your heart your making the hard decisions, but they must be the right ones….

    On a side note…I am finally employed!!!! It only took 3 months, and 8 job offers until I found something that works for me. I can still go to school, have a life, and not work more than 8 hours in the day, and I am off every week-end….for all you non-restaurant management people, what I just described doesn’t exist in the restaurant world.

  9. Julie Avatar

    RG — I know exactly where you’re coming from. I remember being able to watch sappy romances on my couch and crank up my music. And there are times that I miss it. I don’t miss those nights when the cats weren’t enough company and friends were scarce.

    In college, one of my biggest tragedies was going two weeks without a date — as an adult, it was normal for two months to pass. I admit that I was happier as a dateless adult than a too-social college kid.

    As you get more settled, you’ll make more friends. Those lonely times will get further and further apart and your time alone will become more treasured. Listen to your heart and you will never be steered in the wrong direction.

  10. Kim Ayres Avatar

    It’s much easier to have happy endings when the entire story takes place in less than 2 hours…

  11. joeinvegas Avatar

    Sorry, not much I can say. Just hugs from far, glad the dog enjoys movies, ours do too.

  12. jali Avatar

    Yeah. The lonely. I’m happy alone in my own space most of the time.

    Getting older hasn’t made me much wiser – I’m in a weird place right now and my head and my heart are pulling me in different directions. The mature and settled guys who are interested in me don’t really move me – the cute young guy is the one I want. I’ve told him to slow down, but I still expect him to show up despite my request. I’m trying my best to be “appropriate” but dinner dates with the geezers my age are leaving me lonely.

    I’m not making much sense here – your post is making me think ablut quite a bit.

    Hugs to you, my friend.

  13. Jasini Avatar

    I’d suggest you not see Ratatoille. 😉