I came back from Denver creatively energized. And no – I did not enjoy the legal weed. From the three (!!) brunches I had to the multiple hikes to the introspection of traveling alone to the people I met at the hostel, for the first time in a long time I feel like I have a lot I want to talk about. I want to kick it all off with a brunch review thrown into a story about aloneness.
On my first day in the city, I took off pretty early to check out the most frequently recommended brunch spots, The Snooze Eatery.
The Snooze Eatery Brunch Review
When I walked in, I asked confidently for a table for one to compensate for the lonely stink following me. She quickly guided me to the bar where I could sit with the other loners. I’m not particular, but I did feel like there was an expectation that I shouldn't waste a table for my singleness. I put in my order (a dish with two different kinds of eggs Benedict) and sipped my coffee. I made a conscious effort to not fidget around on my phone because:
- I needed to conserve battery for my adventure (if I had to sum up my trip, it would be a mix of walking up a lot of stairs, drinking an unreasonable amount of water and compulsively looking for plugs at every stop in constant fear my phone battery would die and I'd never make it back to my hostel).
- In writing class, my teacher challenged us to use these "quiet" times to reflect. Think, be, view, but don’t browse. Spend time with yourself. Challenge accepted.
So, I sat staring blankly forward, rotating my head every now and then to take in every detail of the scenery. And causing the bartender to ask, “What can I get you?” every few minutes since it clearly looked like I was lost and needed something.
The food came really quickly, and I was in love with my meal. The bartender suggested both of the options I got, and both were fantastic.
To the left is the Bella! Bella! Benny, which is prosciutto and cheese on ciabatta bread with an egg, hollandaise sauce and balsamic. To the right is the Chile Verde Benny. Apparently chile verde is what Denver is known for, so I'm happy to have accidentally ordered it on my first try. Also featured in this half was pulled pork and a base made of tortillas.
Surprising myself, I liked the balsamic drizzled one best since it was salty and a bit sweet from the cream of the sauce. The other one was more "authentic" to Denver with the green chiles, but it didn’t speak to me in quite the way the other half did.
A Walking Tour of One
After fueling up for the day, I wandered over to Civic Center and walked around the state capitol building, city building and the food truck rodeo in the middle of it all. I made a stranger take a picture of me standing a mile above sea level.
I even decided to go on the tour of the capitol, so I went up to the desk and asked to sign up for the tour. The kid was nice and said he would sign me up. Then he said, “Is it just you?” And quickly word-vomited, “I mean, you are enough as you are!” Which was a cute attempt at recovery, but really got me in my own head.
Here I am, a young woman making a work trip into a fun outing, and twice in one day I made people fall over themselves because I was alone. As in, my aloneness (note, I’m not using the word lonely) made other people feel uncomfortable. I’m having a good time eating my favorite meal and taking a tour of a building with a golden ceiling. I’m happy, but society doesn’t know how to handle me.
Another example of society not understanding singles.
The next day I went to The Egg Shell, and a woman said something along the lines of, “I’ll get you more coffee now since they won’t get back to you over here alone.” I was positioned in the middle of the restaurant, yet because I was a table of one, I could expect that my service would be lackluster. Is that right? Does being alone merit a reduce rate of service and attention from the universe?
Am I being dramatic? Perhaps, but stick with me. I’ve admitted that eating in public alone was a fear of mine, particularly because I once saw an old man eating a fancy dinner by himself by candlelight. He looked so morose that I assumed he must be a widow or spent his whole life alone. It’s stuck with me for decades.
But now that the shoe is on the other foot, and I’m the hungover girl chugging coffee, probably looking sullen, I’m upset that child-me gave into the society perception of single people as sad. We’re raised in a society that expects people to be paired or looking to be paired. If people are alone, there must be a reason or a situation. It’s something where we have to over-compensate to make that person feel accepted.
The waiter at The Egg Shell kept smiling at me awkwardly and checking on me without actually being helpful. He didn't bring me water or coffee without me having to ask, and he would just stare at me with a sad smile. It felt really weird.
While it might be “just me,” I’d prefer that we looked at me as, “Sara, party of one.” Especially when me alone in Denver really did turn out to be a total party. More on that to come.