‘I Don’t Want to Live in Ohio. I Belong in New York!’

A move was affecting my daughter more than I thought it would

A booth allows me to maintain my private life in public and provides the kind of intimate space I’ve always associated with the most meaningful, sometimes surprising, conversations of my life.

A booth is where my father first came clean about his alcoholism; a booth is where Mom and her boyfriend, Ted, told me they were getting married. A booth is where I once caught my friend’s father kissing a woman who wasn’t his wife. A booth is a place of solace and protection. You don’t have to perform for the public; you can just be you. I came to this realization a few years ago. After a tough day of work while working as a senior editor at Saveur — a day so tough that I feared I’d be fired before it ended — I asked a co-worker if she would grab lunch with me. “I need to go to California Pizza Kitchen,” I told her. “And I need to sit at a booth.” After we were seated, I felt like an injured athlete recovering on the bench. The booth, I figured, is a church pew and a therapist’s sofa; a La-Z-Boy recliner and a family table.

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