It was coming on to 3 AM when I started this Blog Post several weeks ago. I had realized that my 50 year every day experience is defying the stereotypes that I grew up with.
Well, beginning to…
I thought I had it figured out. I am by no means ready to start joining the elders’ dinner at 4 PM, frankly the reasoning there eludes me.
Here’s why: no, wait…here’s why not.
The older I get, the less time I want to spend in a crowded bar, late at night, struggling to hear what people are trying to say to me. Likewise, I’m not dying to face the struggle of functioning within normal parameters the next morning.
So, I get it!
I traded in my dance shoes for a Happy Hour menu and I couldn’t be more satisfied.
I stop off – when I’m working – on my way home for a drink or two to wash the day down and I’m likely home by 6:00 for Mistress Myrtle’s dinner time. Occasionally, I’m late, but generally have her settled by 7:00.
Other times, like when I’m not working, the Silver Fox and I might head out for a beer or glass of wine around 3:00. Still others, well grab a bottle of wine and head to his rooftop in the late afternoon for some RNR – Rose oN the Roof.
The key here is that the evenings socializing is generally wrapped up well before any young ‘uns would even consider beginning their pre-funk.
Sidebar: when I was a kid, we wanted to get to the bars around 10:00, maybe a little earlier depending on how broke we were and when they started charging cover. Nowadays, the pre-funk seems to start around 10:00 with 11:00 being the target barrival time. I’ve got one younger friend – one of my Bachelors – who doesn’t even seem to plan anything for a Saturday night until around 10:00. That manifest as a Facebook post along the lines of “Anyone going out tonight?”
Nevertheless, I figure that I’m figuring this whole early bird thing out in true TIL style.
I can’t quite reconcile the eating dinner at 4:00 PM thing.
Lately, The Fox and I have both kind of changed our eating habits. Occasionally, well grab a breakfast sandwich at coffee, but more often than not, we both seem to be pushing through to lunch around noon or 1:00. Then we might have something at HH or go to our respective homes after for a post-happy meal.
Even more recently, I’ve found myself powering through to about 3:00 – after a handful of almonds or dried mango in the morning – and then eating one big meal for the day.
Oddly, I’ve gained about 15 lbs in the last few months.
Hint: It’s the beer! Don’t tell me, though, let it be a surprise.
Anyway, I’m almost into the Early Bird routine, but just not quite nailing it. It’s a bummer, too, since it would be nice to include my parents in these adventures and still have them be able to get home before dark.
However, something about the whole concept has been bugging me. Here in the Pearl District, we’ve a bevy of boutique-y restaurants. Walking in for dinner around 4:00 might give you a slight Happy Hour crowd in a bar, but in a real restaurant it’s still largely a pretty solitary dining room. Needless to say, Portland – or any urban area – would probably never successfully claim to be the birthplace of the Early Bird special.
My money here would be on someplace like Clearwater, Florida. I’ve lived there…trust me.
Regardless of where it started, it spread pretty quickly. Likely due to both local restaurant competition but also a slightly viral nationwide spread from snowbirds taking the practice back home with them to middle America in the off season.
And you can bet that it was quick casual or cafeteria style chains that nurtured this Early Bird dinner phenomenon.
Ruby’s, Sayler’s, Sizzler (RIP), Old Country Buffet, Cracker Barrel…probably some Applebee’s, Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory type joints, too, could probably all be relied upon to have some sort of Early Bird menu or well known and heavily trafficked seniors discount.
But like I mentioned, that seems counter intuitive to me.
Assuming for the moment that I’m – ahem – normal in going out early in an effort to avoid crowds.
These chain style restaurants are going to be packed early with seniors taking the marketing bait…that seems like something that would irritate me. Sure, I’ll get my own table and no worries there, but if the kitchen is overwhelmed by a generally crowded dining room?
Well, some poor server is going to be dealing with a specifically grumpy Xtopher.
Clearly, I still have a few lessons to master before I can claim to fully understand the brilliance of the Early Bird routine. But between the Silver Fox and my parents, I’ve got some good resources – and reasons – to figure it out.
Well, them and the cast of Grace & Frankie, so
Plus, I’m really more of a Grace-type, anyway.
So what’s the hurry?