Eating younger and feeling much older

By John Toth

I am in college town, eating at a restaurant right by the University of Austin. It was recommended by a friend – a younger friend.
It’ll be fun, I told Sharon, my wife. It’s been a while since we have been in a college town environment.
Looking at it from the outside, Trudy’s on 30th Street has to be popular. There isn’t a parking place within blocks.
But, I know how to get a parking spot. We drive around the block long enough until one opens up.
Most people would just find some other place to eat. I am determined to find a spot.
And, there it is, a nice big space a block away. I have no idea where it came from, but I am turning right in.
I don’t know why this is true, but it works for me. If you drive around and around a few times, a parking place turns up.
Anyway, we are parked, and now we’ll see if this place is really all that good.
The first thing I notice right away is that we are – old.
There are college kids everywhere on a Friday night. Maybe because the restaurant is right next to a university.
I’m looking around to find some older people. Hey, there is a guy with a kid. He must be at least 30. And, there is a student eating with her parents. That’s a relief. We’re not alone.
College kids today must have more money than I had when I was in college. Sure, I went out and ate a few times also, but for the most part I was dead broke.
The menu is reasonable, and the waitress pushes the $5 sangria margaritas right away. That’s a winner.
The place is loud, but I can get used to that. I’ve been in louder places in my days, like rock concerts.
The food is very good. While I am eating, I am also watching the kids around me as they go through their rituals.
What I would give to be their age again and know what I know now.
Wisdom comes with age, and with age comes being old. I just made that up.
I’d bet that some of these kids are thinking that they’ll never get this old. I didn’t think so either. The alternative is worse.
I’m 56, so it’s not like I have one foot in the grave. But, I do have the urge to get up and tell these kids to eat all their vegetables.
It’s a fun environment. I tell Sharon that we should act our age and take pictures of each other in front of the restaurant when we leave.
The waitress is pushing another drink, but I am driving, and am full anyway.
Any dessert today?
Not unless you want me to explode.
I am too full. If restaurants want me to buy dessert, they should cut down on how much food they put in front of me. Michelle Obama needs to come see these plates. She would be passing out carrot sticks in a minute.
I like the atmosphere. It takes me back to my college days, even though we are the odd couple in the place, except for the parents of that girl I mentioned earlier. She looks like the last thing she wants to do is be here with her parents.
To balance out our weekend, we’re heading to Fredericksburg the next day, where there are lots of great shops, restaurants and a historical downtown, and where I cannot spot a single college kid.
The only kids I see are those too young not to be dragged there by their parents or grandparents.
Soon, those kids will be off to college, go out to eat on a Friday night and wonder what those two old folks are doing at their hangout.