J Street loners

The bustling of J Street can be heard miles away. Students are always popping in and out, socializing and mingling. This boisterous scene can be intimidating to the lone muncher, who shoves off to a discrete corner in order not to be seen.

Freshman Mira Browne said she eats alone at least three times a week. She said she usually has lunch alone because she is always rushing in between classes and her job. Browne said her friends do not usually have the same free time as her to grab a quick bite because they are just as busy with their schedules.

When Browne eats alone she said she usually reads The Hatchet, if it is a Monday or Thursday, or does homework. If she is not in the mood to read, Browne likes to watch people.

“I’m a people watcher. I love to watch what people do and how they act,” she said.

Browne said eating alone does not usually bother her but recently she had a bad experience at J Street that changed her mind about dining solo.

She had bought lunch during a busy hour and was looking around for someone to sit with but she could not find any of her friends. Browne finally found an empty table situated adjacent to a window near Taco Bell. Browne quickly became self-conscious as she realized people were staring at her through the window as they walked into J Street.

“Everyone was staring at me and knew that I didn’t have anyone to eat with,” she said. “It was so depressing.”

Browne said she would never eat alone at a restaurant. J Street is a place to eat a fast meal, and a friend most likely will come by to keep her company. But restaurants are more social, she said.

“I see so many people eating alone (at J Street), it’s just a regular thing,” she said.

Browne said she imagines it would be very miserable to eat alone at a restaurant. She said sitting down, ordering and waiting for food with nothing else to do and no one to talk to would bother her.

“All you have to do is stare at the menu or stir your drink with a straw until the food comes,” she said.

Sophomore Shira Kimmel has about one meal a day alone, usually breakfast. When Kimmel eats alone she said she tries to find a place away from the noise.

“I don’t want to be seen or found,” she said. “I want to contemplate my day and have some alone time before I start my schedule for the day.”

Like Browne, Kimmel said there are differences between eating alone at J Street and dining solo at a restaurant. Kimmel said she believes J Street is not only a dining hall but also a place for social gatherings, making it appropriate to be seen alone, unlike a restaurant.

“A restaurant is some place you go to be with people and enjoy the place and atmosphere with others,” she said.

Sophomore Joe Patry said he does not mind eating alone sometimes. When dining alone in J Street Patry does not hide in a desolate corner, but sits in the big room and watches CNN or reads The Washington Post or The Hatchet. But Patry said he would never go to a restaurant alone.

“Going to a restaurant alone – it’s just too pathetic,” he said.

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