So there we were earlier this week and the place was doing a great business. It didn't really hit me until I was on the way out to the parking lot, hobbling down the entry steps behind an old geezer that was also limping away and calling to his grey-haired wife to bring the car closer: every one in there was just like us - taking their shot at having something nice for the least amount of money. And when I thought about it, sure enough every table held a middle-aged-plus couple, clean and neat but certainly not fancy or prosperous. The place is near a commuter bus stop so previous to this laiht bulb going on, I had assumed that professional couples meet there after a day in the city, but that is not the case.
So okay. I acknowledged that and accepted that I am part of this sad crowd of economic victims. And then I repressed it.Until yesterday.
One of our other long-standing habits is to go sit on the beach after work. The beautiful Seven Presidents is only about 4 miles from where I work, so we sometimes meet there to share a sub sandwich for supper. When we're feeling flush, we go to the Windmill for hot dogs, but mostly, it's sandwiches on the beach. Incidentally, "after work" means you don't have to pay for parking or a day pass for the beach.
Sami and our daughter were going to go a bit early so they could get in some swim time and I was going to meet them about 6:30 or so. I got there at 6:15 and as I was pulling the sand chairs out of the back of my car, I saw the legs and feet of another couple, carrying plastic bags full of food and schlepping a cooler for drinks.And then I remembered the restaurant crowd. Here we were again trying to have a nice experience that most people pay for, only doing it half-assed, within the limits of time and money. Then I shut the car door and got a look at the faces of those two sad sacks - it was Sami and my daughter.
Which was even more depressing.
The bitter realization that I am part of a low-rent subculture of used-to-bes (or maybe I am the ENTIRE subculture) was made tolerable by the good folks at Gallo Family Vineyards. Two words: picnic wine. Or maybe the the keyword is just wine. Whatevs! Maybe I'm not vacationing at the most chic resort but hey - I'm watching the sunset while sitting on the beach drinking wine. And I guess I have to say that I'm pretty pleased about it, if truth be told. What a loser.