Friday, August 12, 2011

Table for One

Nearly nine years ago, my life transitioned and I began doing several activities on my own. One of these solo events was dining out. I discovered Yat Sing, a local Chinese restaurant. In the window, a red, lighted sign proudly displayed, “Best Pot Sticker in Town”, enticing prospective diners to stop in.
“Oh, wow! I love Chinese food!” I said to myself and walked in. The Chinese hostess, asked, “How many?” to which I replied, “Table for one, please.” While I obediently followed her to a quiet corner table, she asked, “Why you alone?” I let her know I just learned of Yat Sing and stopped in unexpectedly.
The waitress brought water and a menu to my table as we engaged in small talk. I asked her name and she said, “My name Peggy.” I told her my name is Debbie and we smiled awkwardly at each other. I was chuckling inside at her American name and she still felt funny saying it.
Gazing over the vegetarian section of the menu, my mouth watered as I hadn’t seen these items since I’d left the Hawaiian Islands several years prior. The entire section was my oyster. When Peggy returned, I let her know I was ready to place my order.
“What you want?” Peggy asked, smiling. “Yes, Peggy, I’ll have the veggie pot stickers, veggie spring rolls, fried rice with no broccoli or egg, spicy garlic string beans with no green chilies, won ton soup with no mushrooms, fried veggie noodles and green tea, please.” Peggy stood without a notepad and repeated my order free from missing an item. She asked, “You want half order pot sticker and dumpling?” I shook my head from left to right. While my eyes were large in amazement and anticipation, she said, “You sure no one else coming?”
It wasn’t long before every inch of my table was covered with pots, bowls, pans, plates, utensils, water and a tea pot. I was astounded at the amount of food sitting before me! Soon, one worker after another stopped by to gaze at me and say hello. Eventually, my table had particles of noodles, rice, sauces and crumbs scattered about. I’d eaten as fast as I could for 30 minutes before finally discovering I was full. Thank God, no one was with me! I asked for containers to take the remainder of my meal home. After paying, I waddled out the front door with a large plastic bag filled with left-over dinner to last the next three nights.
I’ve been to Yat Sing more times than I can count and have yet to bring friends. The truth is, I eat so fast when I’m there and I’m embarrassed. I’ve narrowed down what I order to just six veggie pot stickers and four veggie spring roles. Sometimes, I’ll splurge and order the spicy garlic string beans, (without hot peppers, of course). What I don’t want anyone to know is I can’t stand the thought of parting with just one of my precious Chinese food items.
For years, I was lovingly referred to as, “A human vacuum cleaner” by one and “Little Piggy” by another. Although I’d like to eat slowly and calmly while dining at my favorite Chinese restaurant, it’s not possible. If someone were with me, I’d have to secretly eat a meal before we went in so I could better pace myself. As a result of my eating style since divorcing nearly nine years ago, I gained 40 pounds. Although part of the excess weight has come off, I’m learning to think now before I dive into my plate – except when I’m at Yat Sing.
Recently, I went there for a quick bite to eat. The hostess greeted me with her usual warm smile, “I know, I know, table for one. Why you no fwends?” I confessed I don’t want to share my veggie favorites. She immediately came to my rescue with a brilliant idea, “Next time you come, bwing fwend. Order more what you love, then no more table for one.” 

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