I thought that $10 was a strange amount for a restaurant gift card, but upon further pontificating I can see two reasons why Hiroki would give me a $10 gift certificate:
- He kindly gave all of his teachers one, which could easily add up to $80 or more. He is a very kind student.
- He assumes that I would be eating by myself, and that Boston Market would be a nice change of pace from my usual TV dinners-for-one, eaten on a fold out table and salted by human tears.
The scene at Boston Market that Thursday night was far from uplifting. In fact, my solitary eating was the least depressing event in the whole establishment. There were two elderly people eating separately, but who clearly knew each other. The lady, donned in very old lady gear (shawl over her head, light brown trench coat, umbrella, thick glasses, gloves) got up twice to talk to her male counterpart, then went back to her own seat. I was lucky enough to overhear one of the conversations. It went like this:
"Did you read that thing on your table? It says the salt is at the front counter. They're doing it so we don't put salt on our food. It's part of an effort to reduce sodium intake in America."
And then she sat back down in her seat, three tables away. My guess is that they knew each other from the senior center or something, but that they didn't want to sit together in case that would send the wrong message. Witnessing this whole scene made me think of two more things. Three actually.
- I really don't want to be widowed. I want a companion my whole life. I don't want to be alone when I'm old.
- I need to be more friendly.
- There's was a small bone in my chicken. It was hidden in the barbecue sauce.
I'm working on #1. Not the widowed part, but the companion part. I'm working on #2. I went around and spoke privately with many coworkers, inviting them to live with me in 60 years if we're both alone. Just kidding. But I did go around and speak with many coworkers in private to ask them about their summers in an effort to be a better friend. Some of them were really taken back when I gave them a hug, but seemed okay with it. It's hard to give someone a hug when you've never had a 'hug type' relationship before, but a new school year is a perfect time to experiment.
Thank you Hiroki for this experience, and for indirectly making me a friendlier person.