This week I did something daring. I took on a challenge and succeeded- achievement level unlocked. This week, I made plans to see a friend and I followed through.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal. After all, despite my constant declarations, I have not become a complete hermit since the beginning of my physical apocalypse. I have gone out, and friends have come over to my apartment. But this time was different. I didn’t merely offer a vague suggestion that we should meet up at some point. I didn’t agree to an existing plan. I myself suggested to a friend that we go to a restaurant. I even chose the restaurant. And I did this while caught in the grip of possibly the world’s most vengeful migraine.
The second I made this decision, I became a war general. Strategy was the first order of business as I rushed to create a schedule. I lined up my medications like troops, timing their entrance into my system perfectly, ensuring that their maximum impact would occur when I needed it most. I feverishly researched menus and maps online, and debated over my armor, trying to decide whether walking poles and braces would be necessary or cumbersome.
All things considered, I put as much effort into a simple dinner with a very understanding friend as I would into a first date. Probably more.
There are a number of similarities between an outing on a rough day and a first date. Generally speaking, one of the main elements of both of these events involves an attempt to come across as in control. Perhaps more so than one may actually feel. This requires an immense amount of strategy to be successful.
For either of these situations, the choice of venue is of the utmost importance. Where you are going will influence all future decisions. It is the foundation of your carefully constructed house of cards. As I happened to go to a restaurant this week I will focus my observations on that particular setting.
When choosing a restaurant there are a number of factors to be cognizant of. The first, and most important, is the atmosphere. The atmosphere of a restaurant can include many variables including the lighting, size, decor, and entertainment. On a date you may choose a romantic setting with close quarters and candlelight, but when your skull and brain are locked in combat that setting may not be the best choice. Yes, dimmed lighting goes well with a headache, but when a room is dark every light appears exponentially brighter. Which makes candlelight akin to a flickering monster, constantly stabbing you in the eye. A spacious and evenly lit restaurant may be the way to go.
The next item to consider is the restaurant’s popularity. Reservations are often made for a first date. Perhaps they are made to create a classy first impression as you to waltz in and get served immediately, or maybe the motive is to avoid potential awkwardness while waiting side by side in line. Whatever the reason, this pressure to avoid the wait is intensified for someone who is unwell. It is my belief that torture is defined as dragging yourself to a restaurant while your body begs to return to bed, and then having to stand and wait for 40 minutes, perhaps with a screaming toddler latched to your side, planted directly in the line of fire from the kitchen to the dining room. And then, when you are finally offered a table, having to eat amidst so-called chatter reminiscent of the sound Habs fans generate over the course of a game. Prior research is integral to success in this category. When trying a new restaurant, I suggest going so far as to call in advance.
Finally, the menu. Astonishing as it may seem, the menu is of the least importance when choosing a restaurant. With such varied selections and the ability to doctor meals, you should be able to find something satisfactory wherever you end up. If you’re like me and agonize over simple decisions, checking the menu before a date may be a very good idea for the sake of ease and comfort. If you’re like me in other ways though, and have a severely restrictive diet, checking the menu in advance is quite important as it allows you to plan and adjust your food for the rest of the day accordingly.
After the restaurant itself is chosen there are numerous other decisions to face. Clothing, accessories, transportation, timing – the list goes on. The fight for social interaction is long and hard, with many battles to be waged. But I must say, this particular battle was well worth it. I had a wonderful evening with a wonderful friend. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. Or in 24 hours. After all, I need some time to strategize.