“…Only One?”

When one is alone, sometimes it’s difficult to go out for meals, especially since waitresses, like the ones at the Milford Diner, always seem to say things like, “Only one,” or “Are you on your own?” or “Just you?” I have determined that they do not mean anything by it and really don’t care — they just want to know where to seat you. In an effort to get over my reluctance to dine alone, I have gone to the Milford Diner on my way home from an 8:00 appointment each day in Milford. Since buying my home in 2008 I’ve been to the diner many times. However, I’ve never been “a regular.” I’m sure you have heard that the best diners are owned by the Greeks and this one is no exception. That accounts for the eclectic decor which consists of famous people who have been there — JFK — Yankee memorabilia, photos of the original diner and the makeover (pictured above), and crosses of various sizes and shapes. All of the waiters are Greek and I have the feeling they are all related as well.

The same people arrive at the diner each morning at the same time and it is the place to go for local, regional, and national news. In line with my earlier post about conversation, it doesn’t matter that the same thing is said over and over, everyone seems to have time to listen, add to the conversation, and expand from the previous day’s comments. Because I don’t know anyone, the waiters and waitresses engage me in conversation. The subjects range from what is on the television — always ABC’s Good Morning America — to the storm, the election or the weather. This morning’s conversation centered around generators made in China where they clearly don’t know how to make motors and where to go to buy American-made generators and tools that will last longer, be of better quality, and you can return them if they break.

I am reminded of Cheers and the outcry of “Norm!” when he walked into the bar. This morning my insurance agent, Doug, came in while I was there and cries of “Doug!” and “Dougie!” rang out. I found myself comforted by the idea of the same people sitting in the same places and noticed that the customers are mostly men. Retired, working, discussing their plans, they are quite serious about the business of starting their days with knowing what everyone else is doing, who’s sick, who died, what’s new in sports. Now I wonder if there will come a time when I am engaged in conversation — do I want to be? — and, if so, do I need to go there every day? Or, would once a week be ok? Whatever happens, the breakfast is very good and they never make a mistake and the coffee is outstanding. I am also somewhat comforted by starting my day in the same seat I occupied yesterday. Only one please.