I don’t do it weekly, or even monthly — the pleasure in just as much in the break of routine as it is in the experience itself — but I love going to nice restaurants by myself at lunch. It’s a fraction of the price of going at dinner (even with a 25% tip, I spent less than $13), but somehow feels much more luxurious. It’s quieter and brighter, the pace is slower, but the service is faster. No one is looking over her shoulder from the bar, waiting for her turn at my table. Sure, I have to go back to the office afterward, but knowing that I took the effort to carve out that space in the middle of an otherwise busy day makes it that much sweeter.
Today I went to my favorite neighborhood sushi place. Out of the office, away from my desk, at a table with a waitress and a menu and the nice, non-splintery chopsticks, I sat quietly for an hour, sipping miso, nibbling salad, making notes about the book I’m working on, and savoring my spicy salmon and eel avocado rolls. It was a pleasure that was far greater than the sum of its parts.