I’m a painfully shy woman who created a replacement licence to “smile at straight men”.  I’m terrified of strangers, although I’m adept at hiding it.  So, WTF made me think I could have the courage to just have lunch with a complete stranger?

My understanding was that I had only 72 hours to act on this mission. I selected this licence on Friday afternoon.  I procrastinated on Saturday and Sunday by rationalizing that people eat brunch, not lunch, on weekends. 

So, the dreaded Monday arrived; I now only had two-hour window to do this.  I figured that a lunch counter would be full of solo eaters, so I headed over to a casual Japanese restaurant inside Village by the Grange, fidgeted on a stool at the empty counter, and ordered cold noodles and takoyaki (octopus dumplings).  If nobody sits down by the time I’m finished eating, I’d have to go elsewhere afterwards and have a second lunch!

This young fellow walked in, carrying a helmet.  He sat down at the counter, and had trouble opening a bottle of Ramune (which is understandable – see Wikipedia entry).  I made some small talk about Ramune, and before I knew it, I was showing him my licence badge, along with a copy of the Globe & Mail article about the art project (just so he wouldn’t think I was making it all up).

John was part of the construction crew renovating the AGO, across the street from the restaurant.  I told him I hated my job as an office drone.  He told me he’d been thinking about teacher’s college for a while.  Maybe most of us would rather be doing something else, and the big mission in life is to seize that “something else.”

My cold noodles were finished, but my made-to-order takoyaki was still not ready.  John had to get back to work so he didn’t have a chance to sample any of the addictive dumplings. He quietly paid for my lunch, shook my hand, and headed off while I gaped in amazement.