The other night I went to a cafe/restaurant with one of my besties for dinner. We we to a place in Burwood called La Plaka because her friend owned the place and she needed to go pick up something up from him, so it was a good excuse to go somewhere and eat. I never really need an excuse to eat, but it’s good to have one sometimes to justify the constant eating I do. I had been to this place many moons ago, so didn’t really remember too much about it, but when we got there, we were welcomed and seated and made to feel right at home. We chatted with Moey, the owner, for a bit and got recommendations on what to order and then kicked back and proceeded to enjoy an overdue catch up. And this place was perfect for it; there was no over the top doof doof music to drown us out while we talked and the staff were amazing, keeping an eye out without hovering over our shoulder and making it awkward to talk. And then the food came out. And this is where I need to stop for a moment. Have I ever mentioned that food makes me deliriously happy? No? Well, I’m in no way exaggerating when I say I am most content when I’m well fed, and this place more than fed me well. In fact, they over fed me and I couldn’t finish my meal, which is practically a sin in my world. As much as I tried to force myself to finish my meal, as did Mel with hers, there was just so much food that we couldn’t do it. I had ribs with potatoes that never ran out, no matter how many potatoes I ate, there was still more!! If it wasn’t for the fact that we were going to hang a round for a bit longer, I would have asked to take the rest of mine home (yes, I am that person who wants their left over food packed away in a foil contraption that looks like a swan so that I can eat it at midnight when I’m hungry again. Don’t judge me!)
With a full stomach and a big smile of contentment, we headed to the outside area to chill for a little bit longer and catch up with a few of Mel’s friends, and can I tell you, it was an interesting night. I had met a couple of the friends before but not all, so I didn’t really know them too well. Having said that, not knowing people is a non issue for me because I’m happy to just chat with people or sit in silence and observe, and I found myself doing both that night. These guys were totally adorable and lovely and as I sat there listening to their stories, I couldn’t help but laugh with them and get sucked into their world. The better part of the night was filled with all of them reminiscing about nights out and adventures they had overseas and just random stuff. The conversation ranged from everyday life to cringe worthy experiences and everything in between. In between the stories was taunting and insults with a smile. It was hilarious and my jaw was killing me by the end of the night from laughing so much.
At one point I sat back and just listened to the tales while looking around the cafe to see what the rest of the population was doing and I found myself fascinated by the people there. You pretty much had people from all walks of life; awkward looking couples, groups of hipsters, tattooed glamazons drinking their coffees and smoking their cigarettes. You had groups of people in hysterics, while other tables sat in silence and quietly drank their drinks. There were young ladies trying to catch the attention of young men who were oblivious to the attention, and older men who were trying to catch the attention of much younger women, who thankfully were oblivious because, just, eww. But the one thing everyone had in common was that they were enjoying themselves; people were happy. Even the group of guys that looked like they could recite every line out of every Star Wars movie for you in chronological order looked happy, despite the fact that they just sat around their table in relative silence smoking their argila (Arabic smoking pipe) and nodding at each other. I suppose sitting in silence and nodding is a ‘thing’ for some people, but hey, whatever makes you happy.
There was a sense of joy and togetherness. People connecting and uniting over coffee and laughter. People sharing stories and memories and making new ones in the process. I didn’t really know these guys other than through my girlfriend, but by the end of the night, I had a new memory to carry around about a night of laughter and joy and good food. And if I never see any of the guys again, I will carry that memory and they will be a part of it.Whenever I think of the restaurant I will remember my night out there. And that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, taking away the good times and storing them away to pull out later and remember and laugh at. Some of my best conversations have been with random people who I have met at a conference or an event where we just connected and decided to make the most of what could have been an awkward situation. Not every encounter you have has to result in friendship. I have had some great conversations on the train or on a plane travelling somewhere. I read somewhere that people come into your life for a season or a reason, but who’s to say how long the season is? Maybe you were meant to cross paths with someone for an hour and that’s it. All I want out of every encounter I have is to leave people better off than when I met them, and if I can make someone smile or laugh or just feel a little less awkward for an hour, YAY!
Man was not created to be alone; we need each other. Life can be lonely and hard enough as it is, so let’s be people who make other people smile and laugh and forget their situation for a while. You don’t know what people are dealing with so add joy to their life, not drama. And if you have no one and need someone to add a little joy to your life drop me a line and we can be online pen pals!