|Lunch with my friends Barbara and Jane yesterday - great company!|
I don't like going out at nights anyway. It wasn't too bad during the longer daylight hours of summer but in the winter it is definitely not safe for me to drive at night. All I see are headlights coming at me. During the summer it's bad enough driving on the tourist clogged roads. After last week's debacle there is absolutely no reason for me to put life and limb and my vehicle at risk for a gathering that was shriveled up to nothing. No comments about the use of the world "shriveled" please.
Yesterday I went out to lunch with two of my good friends from the neighborhood, Barbara and Jane. I had a delightful lunch. The food was good, the company excellent and I could see where I was going driving to and from the restaurant. Only problem was that I got boxed in the parking lot when I tried to leave. There were two long trailers of beer trucks. They totally boxed me in. I couldn't back up because a butchie in a gargantuan Dodge Ram pickup truck had his door open while he was flapping his gums on his cell phone. Then someone behind me started blasting me with his horn to more. I COULDN'T GO ANYWHERE! Then I'm thinking to myself "What am I doing here?"
I remember back years go (actually 32 years ago, when I was 37 years old). I was standing in the 247 Bar on a Saturday night when the bartender turned up the lights and shouted "LAST CALL!" Up until that time I had gone out almost every weekend to the bars since I was 21 years old. That night, THAT NIGHT I realized "Why am I here?" I had friends in bar who I enjoyed seeing every week. I went out to see them and also to maybe meet someone NEW. I did occasionally meet someone NEW but the thrill had long since worn off. So here I was in the habit of going out every week, paying a couple of bucks for a gin and tonic (which I usually tried to keep down to three a night) and inhaling other's second hand smoke (and smelling like a dirty wet ashtray when I got home - the smell lingered in my clothes), facing the reality of "LAST CALL!" I thought to myself at that time I would rather be home in my comfortable bed instead of stumbling down the night time darkened street at 2:30 am in the morning, ever on the alert for a mugger or a group of young straight punks from South Philly looking to gay bash someone like me who would be alone leaving a gay bar. No, I wasn't enjoying this "pastime" any more. It was expensive and I was putting myself in danger. Maybe I'm over analyzing but I don't think so. I stopped going to bars and haven't missed it since. I'm at that crossroads again.
So, a delightful lunch with friends but I'm not going to do this much anymore either (never say "never"). I'm sort of bummed out over eating out anyway. There are very few places where I like the food. I'm not happy with the cost of the meal either. My Social Security and pension payments have stayed the same for years now but the price of dining out keeps going up and up and UP. The quality doesn't justify the prices. At least at the restaurants I grace with my presence. I don't go to the hoity toity restaurants in Rehoboth like the Back Porch Cafe or the Sting Ray whose entree prices start around $24 (they are so hoity toity they don't even put the decimal and cents on the menu listing...just the number.) Those restaurants are of the Washington D.C. crowd of retirees retired to Rehoboth Beach who have the luxury of six decimal retirement packages from the taxpayers and they can afford their overpriced meals where their plate is squirted with some kind of colored sauce to make a "presentation." Nope, I'm just a regular retired guy with a couple of small bank pensions and a modest Social Security pension check which hasn't increased in two years who works part time to keep up with my every increasing bills like heating, electricity, and insurance (car, homeowners and supplemental medical insurance). I can't keep up with the "In Crowd." I don't want to keep up with the "In Crowd." I'm not going to keep up with the "In Crowd."
I'm all for keeping the local economy going and I do have a great empathy for the waitresses but I'm just not enjoying myself. While I have met and made some new friends with the Friday Night Dine Out Group and I always have a good time with my lovely neighbors Barbara and Jane, I have reevaluated my situation and decided that I will dine alone from here on out. Lunch during the off season at the Purple Parrot on Wednesdays at half price is ideal for me. No crowds, no problem parking, the price is right and the burger and fries are the best!
So please don't be offended folks if I decline future offers to dine out. Don't take it personal. This is a decision I have made for my own personal well being. I'm tired of fighting traffic, parking, overpriced mediocre food, and poor service. I'm taking a break...for a while. I'm cutting back. Life evolves.