a single gal on Christmas Eve

What is one to do on Christmas Eve alone, but with want and means for a good meal? I adored the Greek restaurant near me, but had never dined there alone because it was very much a fine dining establishment. Ever since I received the email from this restaurant announcing their Christmas Eve menu that featured the traditional seven fishes dish I pined to dine there that night, but solo fine dining fear took over every time I considered making a reservation. Then, that morning, my director asked what my plans were for that evening, and I just said without thinking, “I’m having the traditional seven fishes dish at the Greek restaurant tonight.” A whole conversation then ensued on the seven fishes tradition, then I went to my desk and made a reservation using the Open Table app on my phone. Apparently, I really had my heart set on this.

Later that evening after work, I pulled into the parking lot, took a deep breath, and walked in. I simply said, “I have a reservation for Beatriz …” omitting the soon to be obvious fact that it was a reservation for 1. The young man found my reservation in Open Table, and he stated to his colleague that I was to be seated in the bar. I did not want to be seated in the bar for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I do not take my sobriety for granted, especially on a day like Christmas Eve where I am all by myself.

The older woman working with the young gentleman pointed to something on the screen, I’ve no idea what she pointed to (in my imagination she pointed to my history of dining with there with my friends during the week), but whatever it was it convinced her to change my seating, and she said to the young man that they could seat me in the dining room since it would be more comfortable. Then she looked up at me and asked, “Do you have a preference between the dining room or the bar?” In my most accommodating voice that I could muster I said, “the dining room if you can accommodate me there.”

And she replied, “Absolutely.”

I felt like I won some elusive prize with gaining admission to the dining room of a fine dining establishment on Christmas Eve as a single female solo diner. It feels like a strange achievement, though it shouldn’t because all that happened is that I have money in my bank account for this meal, made a reservation on Open Table and appeared for said reservation in a timely fashion. The situation was as simple as a single woman with the ability to take oneself out to on Christmas Eve. It’s that simple, and it isn’t all at the same time.

In the restaurant, there were no other singles present, not in the dining room, not in the bar. I was a bit of a novelty at first with the staff, but I found the more normal, at ease, and happy that I appeared the more relaxed they became. We had a potentially shaky start when my waiter asked me, “Waiting for one more?” And I gave him a friendly relaxed smile, and said, “It’s just me tonight.” He recovered quickly, and I could tell that my own demeanor about dining alone set him at ease as well. I learned if you don’t act weird, they are less likely to act weird towards you. Not a full-proof rule, but a good place to start. On this night, this rule helped me find my way to an enjoyable meal. I started with the traditional Avgolemono soup, which is a chicken, rice and lemon soup. The memory of the pucker of the lemon makes me wish I had some as I’m typing this post this very minute.


The fresh pita with the spread of the day, that night it was roasted red pepper puree, is always worth the price of admission to this establishment. Too many times I eat too much pita before my meal arrives. Today I exercised unusual restraint.




A bottle of Souroti Greek sparkling water in a marble glass holder can give you that chi chi feeling you may miss from having a bottle of wine at your table.



The seven fishes dish was heavenly. I had to restrain myself from bringing the bowl to my face to drink the remaining broth.


Towards the end of my meal the dining room started to fill up with couples and families galore. I was smart in choosing the early 5:45 reservation. I paid my bill, and presented my coat check ticket to the lovely older woman who changed my seating to the dining room. She asked me, “How was your meal?”

“It was lovely. I’ve always wanted to have the seven fishes dish on Christmas Eve.”

“Just so you know, we put our own Greek spin on it, so if you ever have it any place else it will likely be different.”

“It was amazing. Thank you.”

She touched my arm and said, “Have a good Christmas dear.”

Stupid Santa

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

The “What To My Wondering Eyes” episode of Parenthood sent me into a flashback.

Parenthood was on the mark at the start of this episode with Julia in utter shock when her son declared that Santa is just a fat guy in a suit at the mall. This declaration then left Victor’s sister, Sydney, confused. Victor was recently adopted, and he comes from an underprivileged background. Julia’s family, that Victor recently joined, is at least upper middle class, if not upper class.

If we think about the context from which Victor comes from, his belief regarding Santa makes sense. I grew up poor, and my mother decided to go with the concept that Santa existed.

For a poor kid, this is not the way to go. You start hoping upon hope that Santa will answer your prayers. You shift your prayers from Jesus to Santa because Santa appears to be the option most likely to be fruitful at the moment, given the fact that it’s the holiday season.

Your mother tries to convince you that your Christmas list should only contain a coat and boots.

No, you maintain that this is SANTA we are talking about. Santa KNOWS. Santa will make things right. So, you go all out. You ask for your Dad come back home, make him better, make him stop drinking, make him like he was. You also want Santa to make your Mom stop crying and yelling all the time. It makes you cry too, and it makes you feel scared and lonely. There’s no one there to hug you and make you feel better.

If Santa were to tell you to put a *star* next to the most important thing on your wish list, in case he’s very busy with other kids, and can only do one thing for you, you put the star next to the fact that you want a grown up to *hug* you when you are scared.

At the bottom of the list you ask for the water squirter that hooks up to the garden hose, and allows you to run through and get wet with sprinkles of water on a hot day. You dutifully saved 100 pennies for this, but your mother told you that was nowhere near enough for that. It turns out you need something like 2000 pennies.

You send your list to Santa, and you are sure that you’ve been good enough for what you are asking. Plus, you know your gifts don’t cost a lot of money, so you are sure you will get at least one of them. You can still keep saving pennies for the sprinkler if Santa is very busy.

Then you find out that Santa is coming to the day care center for the poor kids, the one you go to when your mother goes to work. This confuses you because Santa is visiting before Christmas Day, but you think about it, and you decide that this makes sense because Santa wants to make sure to get to the poor kids … and because of this he is making a personal appearance. 

Santa come in with a full sack over his shoulder. When you see this you wonder if you are getting a sprinkler and a hug. You can hardly wait. Santa goes to the front of the room, and says, “Ho, Ho, Ho, kids!” He then gives all of you a stocking that is full of hard candy. He doesn’t know your name. He doesn’t know anyone’s name. You can’t eat the candy because too much sugar makes your stomach hurt. Everyone gets the same stocking of hard candy. You feel bad that you are mad at Santa. You must have done something bad because you did not get one thing on your list, not even the hug.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Darn, it’s a holiday weekend …

The workplace on the eve of a holiday weekend is a buffet of questions. Questions about the weekend, children, and the like. People are nosy …

“It’s a long holiday weekend. What are your plans, Beatriz?”

“Oh, you know, pick up my place a bit, do some reading and writing, relax.”

Translation: I will try not to dissociate too much, try not to lose too much time. Find the will to carry on, and not die. It will likely be another Saturday where I wake up feeling heavy, and it takes me hours to get in the shower, and then another good bit of time to get dressed. After that, there is no making breakfast or lunch in that apartment because I’m likely to lose more time the longer I stay there. The apartment is a fine apartment. This would be the case whether it was public housing or a penthouse off Central Park in NYC. It’s being alone that triggers the time loss and/or switching. It’s a holiday weekend, so I get to do this one extra day! 

“Going anyplace special for the long weekend, Beatriz?”

“No, just staying close to home.”

Translation: You can see me at diners, coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores all weekend long. I do better around people, especially if I can just enjoy the sound of people without interacting with them. What makes me not like the others? Is it the mental illness? The DID?

“Do you own your own home?”

“Nope, I”m enjoying the benefits of having a landlord do all the maintenance.”

Translation: One of my biggest fears is not being well enough to work. The last thing I need on my mind is a 30 year mortgage. If I become too sick too work, it will be easier to deal with an apartment instead of a house with a mortgage. I would love to own a home, but as it is, I have trouble being in my apartment by myself. So, buying a house that needs to be maintained is not a good option for me. 

“Are you married?”

“No, I’m not married.”

“Not married? How can that be … a beautiful woman like you?” (Yes, this was the actual reply. She must be confusing me with someone else.)

“Just not, it happens to the best of us.”

Translation: When you have issues such as PTSD, sex addiction, alcoholism, depression, and DID it’s not easy to be “like the others.” Perhaps people can’t put a finger on it precisely, but they can assess that you are different. These issues add up to some unwise relationship choices early on in adulthood, and, quite frankly, a lot of time was wasted with a couple of poor choices. That aside, I’m not exactly a shining choice as a partner at the moment as I’m in the midst of grappling with my new DID diagnosis. 

Do you have kids, Beatriz?”

“No, I don’t have kids, just waiting for the right time.”

Translation: Are you out of your mind? I may look fine at work, but the truth is that I can barely take care of myself. All of the effort expended to get to work on time and looking professional leaves me crazy tired by the end of every day, and especially the end of the week. It takes me longer than the average person to get my act together everyday for work. It’s the hardest thing I do everyday, though it’s easier now that I have a job I like, but it is still excruciatingly hard. I can’t trust myself not to lose time while parenting. Can you imagine the scene? “Ma’am, can you explain how your 3 year old broke a tooth trying to eat the remote control?” “Well, I must have lost time and switched … ”

Is there not some other single woman in this office you can accost with your nosy questions?