Nearly every week we spend time with a couple of like-minded folks who suffer my public behavior as though it were normal. By like-minded, I mean we mostly drive to town in search of some cheap food in an atmosphere quiet enough to have an actual conversation about our doctor visits. Often it’s a fruitless search and we wind up in a place where the “music” is loud enough to turn a 1970s mirrored disco ball into shards of flying, eyeball-piercing glass. For safety, to go out to dinner now, I always wear my Bausch and Lomb poly-razzmatazz shooting glasses and foam plug hearing protection.
Shown to a table directly under a speaker pouring out sounds at a minimum 2,000 watts, I thank God for my poor hearing, and I silently pray for those patrons whose cochlear implants detonated. The more assertive of our party, those of the female persuasion, tour the establishment with the host or hostess in search of appropriate seating not under a speaker nor an air-conditioning duct. After selecting the least bothersome table that is not in the walk-in, they then demand that the music be turned down to a level that will permit conversation. I must admit that sometimes works, but even so, before we are ready to leave, the ambient noise is right back where it was when we came in. I haven’t heard a word since the waitress brought my friend’s second margarita.
OK, restaurateurs, yes, I’m talking to you. How about we make a deal? We will put your establishment in the rotation if you make it possible for geezers to communicate in your dining areas with our voices, not just our cellphone text apps. I’m not saying you’ll suddenly be able to afford that weight loss spa retreat because of your increased business, but you’ll see some new faces, and guess what? We tip well! So thanks in advance for changing your business plan and making us seniors feel welcome. The end.
In the past I’ve let you know how I feel about a few things that tick me off. That list is as long a read as “War and Peace” and is where I get some inspiration for this monthly essay.
In the “What I Love About Shopping” category, we’ve discussed my view of shopping carts in the parking lot abandoned by some who had no trouble pushing them through a mile and a half of aisles and back out to their cars and then chose to leave them for someone else to move in order to use that parking spot. Maybe it’s their socially responsible effort to provide the store with an employment opportunity for a cart wrangler to herd them to where they belong. That cost will be covered in the increased price of essentials like Honey Bunches of Oats, bloody mary mix and Pace hot picante sauce. But really, one of the aspects of shopping I dread is …
Me: “I’m gonna make a quick run to town today.”
Her: “Oh, why?”
Me: “I need to get a few things at Hannaford.”
(You know what’s coming, right?)
Her: “As long as you’re going up there, would you mind doing something for me?”
Me: “Uhmm, what do you need?”
Her: “Would you mind stopping at the bank and making a deposit for me? And you said you need something at Lowe’s. If you’re going there, you may as well stop at Tractor Supply for cat litter, and we need Era from Walmart.”
My fault. I exposed my vulnerability by sharing my plan for “a quick run to town.” As the quiet time I tried to set aside evaporates, I’m mentally planning my itinerary to make the most stops in the least time. Right turns are the most efficient and proper lane choice is critical, especially coming west at the light at Walmart. So it’s Walmart first, through the lot to Lowe’s, across the road to Tractor Supply, then over to the bank, Hannaford and home.
I really wish Dunkin’ Donuts hadn’t moved. That would have been a consolation stop, but now they are off the planned route. There is Gurnet Trading and Island Candy is practically next door, so maybe it’s going to be an OK trip after all.
Butch Lawson is an observer of life. He lives on Bailey Island.