Let me start by saying I ate at the same place five times in one week. Five times. Three of those times at 11pm, so gimme a break here; My options were limited.
Bibi is dat place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s the employees, it’s the clients, it’s the colors, it’s the location, it’s the menu, it’s…it’s…Bibi.
It’s like a mix of a Brazilian diner, a juice spot, and a vegetarian restaurant. It’s one of those places that looks healthy, but probably isn’t. Nonetheless, it’s the only place to order a five-grain vegan burger, with a side of steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes, an açai bowl with protein powder and granola, a green detox juice, and a tapioca tortilla with scrambled eggs…at 11pm in Copacabana.
If you’re not with friends at Bibi, which just by looking around right now, you most likely are, you can occupy your time by staring at this distracting, entertaining, almost brainwashing video on loop of bodybuilders doing the most fun cross fit exercises – or so it seems. Reminds me of when I used to work out. Hah. Working out on the road – a difficult thing to do when you spend you’re entire day filled with exciting exhausting activities.
So right, did I mention this was my fifth time here? Maybe you feel a bit uncomfortable going back to the same place even a second time – wondering what the employees might think. “Oh jeez, he’s here…again.” “Did you see who came in again?” “Why is he always here alone? Does he not have friends?” If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you start recognizing clients, loving or hating the regulars, and making up your own story in your head about why they keep coming back to your restaurant. The reality is: you are being judged in some way, but that’s not new. People are judging you when you’re taking that selfie on the street, or grabbing white bread off the shelf, or reading a book on the subway. Everyone has an opinion about you 24 hours a day. We’ll come back to that.
An hour before eating at Bibi for the fifth time (haha), I was sitting in my AirBNB in Copacabana, starving, and looking on Yelp for healthy places to eat. Nothing came up, except Bibi. I rolled over mumbling to myself “Again? Like, I can’t go…again. I feel weird for going back and they probably think I’m weird for coming back.”
And as I was in the middle of this melodramatic, I’m-a-victim, petty AF thought-process, I stopped, rolled my eyes, put my shoes on, and walked my vegetarian a$$ over to Bibi.
I know people who won’t eat alone (or go alone to the movies, to the bar, on a trip, etc.) because they think it looks weird, or sad, or lonely. What’s so wrong about it? Is it because when you see someone doing something alone, you think they look weird, sad, or lonely? To anyone and everyone who thinks it’s awkward to go to the same restaurant again and again, or any restaurant alone, because they’re uncomfortable about being judged by the waiters or waitresses, how bout this:
Who. The. F. Cares.
And here’s why who the F cares:
They don’t know your story.
Maybe I just got off work and I’m trying to eat something healthy. Maybe I had a rough day and just want to be alone. The point is: you don’t know me, so if you judge me, that’s your bad, cuz you don’t know the whole story.
You’re just trying to eat.
If other places were open and had healthy options, of course I’d try something new. Ain’t my fault y’all ain’t opening late-night vegetarian joints in Copacabana.
You liked the food and wanted to eat it again.
Sorry I’m coming back to your restaurant for another round of quesadillas? Wait, why am I apologizing for coming back and giving you business?
Why are you trying to impress people who don’t know anything about you?
Maybe if I were going to a job interview, I’d care what my potential employer thinks. Maybe if I were going to class, I’d care what my professor thinks. But I’m eating a restaurant with people I don’t know – why do I feel the need to impress them? So what if they think I’m weird, sad, or lonely? Maybe I am weird, sad, and lonely? What does it change? Maybe I’m not weird, sad, or lonely? What does it change?
This whole scenario can appear a bit small-scale, but when you put it into perspective, that maybe people don’t do things because they’re afraid of it looking a certain way, that is what this blog is about.
Eat your meal alone.
And enjoy it!