A Bowl of Awkward Soup

The other day for lunch, I walked over to the cafe at the building next door. Since it was a blustery 60 degrees outside, everyone who usually sits outside was sitting inside, and there weren’t too many available tables. I sat down at a 4-person table, propped up my little number on the edge of the table, and proceeded to wait for the dude to bring my soup. A minute later, a woman comes by and asks if she can sit down. Which I could completely understand if there were no other empty tables, but by then 2 more had been cleared, so I’m really not sure why she wanted to sit with me. She sat diagonal from me, and we exchanged an awkward glance/smile, then kind of both fidgeted around for a second trying to look occupied. I hadn’t brought a book, so I thought, OK, I’ll just write something in my moleskine. So I fished around in my purse for a pen… and fished… and fished… and no pen. So all I could do was hold my stone-age cell phone and poke at the buttons hoping it looked like I was doing something. It was soooooo awkward, you guys. And out of the corner of my eye, I could see that she was having the exact same problem. I kid you not, she literally sat there and just read a company memo over and over, sometimes folding it in half and then unfolding it, and a couple times turning it over in case any additional text had appeared on the back.


So the waiter brings my soup, and it’s great, because we have something to talk about!

“That looks good.”

“Yes, it does. (sniff, sniff). It smells good, too.” (Why did I just smell it? I am such a dork). What did you order?”


“Oh,… that sounds good.”

(Then about a thousand minutes go by in silence while I shovel soup into my mouth as quickly as possible and she reads the memo again)

“Wow, your pizza is taking a long time. I hope they didn’t forget about you.”

“Yeah, I hope not.”

(A billion minutes of uncomfortable silence and slurpy soup sounds)

(Guy brings pizza)

“Oh, that looks good.”

“Oh, yeah.”


“Do you work in this building?”

“No, that one.”




“Do you?”

“Yes, I work in this one.”


“The food over there is terrible.”

“Yes, I’m glad we’ve got this place downstairs here.”

“Yeah, the food is always good here.”


(years of silence)
(finally done with soup)

“Enjoy your lunch!”


(I run for freedom and don’t look back)

2 Responses to A Bowl of Awkward Soup

  1. joanna says:

    so. odd. not that you’d ever have to share a table. no problem there. (but feeding two toddlers chinese noodles while sharing a tiny table with a stranger in the crowded kroger “china express” eatery surrounded by grocery carts is certainly a welcome distraction…and conversation piece.) but two others had already been cleared? maybe she didn’t want to waste them? like carpool dining maybe? huh. funny. >:-+
    (that’s a furrowed brow and pursed lips…)

  2. Virginia says:

    Ok, how’s THIS for awkward. While standing at the cross walk, a homeless man comes up to me and asks for money. I decline to give him any. Instead of walking back to bum land, or wherever it is he lives, he waits standing next to me. Is he waiting for me to change my mind? No, he’s waiting for the lights to change and we cross the street together. That was an awkward 2 minutes, I can tell you.

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