I used to meet about once a month at 11:30 at the Panera Bread cafe for lunch with a dear friend. I would usually have a salad with chicken, she a soup and half salad or half sandwich. The food was not the reason we were getting together, so it didn’t matter that there is nothing fancy about the place. Getting there at 11:30 guaranteed a good seat before the place filled up. We would often stay for an hour or an hour and a half talking. Nothing astonishing, just catching up on our lives, our families, books we were reading or shows we had watched.
Of course we have missed our March and April meals, and are certain to miss a few more. Yes, we talk on the phone, but it isn’t the same. We started getting together in the first place because we wanted a closer connection than the one we had established on the phone. Now we have had to take a step back and we can notice the difference.
It turns out that these casual get-togethers were much more important to me than I realized. I miss her, the cashier, the person trying to convince me to use a machine instead of the cashier and the bustling atmosphere. It really was never about the food, as it turns out. Right after the book store and the haircut, I hope to meet up for lunch again.