It’s kind of amazing what you can learn when you sit in a fast food restaurant’s dining room, which happens typically before or after doctor’s appointments in my little world – my mom loves to, “have a little something”.
I live in an area that’s pretty much the bastion of the over 65 set, which means you see a lot of retired people sitting and enjoying a taco, burger or a bowl of chow mien. A friend of mine who came to visit a few years ago called my neck of the woods “God’s waiting room.” And, he wasn’t half wrong.
Actually, I should backtrack a little bit, it’s not so much what you learn, but what you’re willing to try from what you see other people doing, that is truly the amazing thing when you yourself get a little longer in the tooth.
There’s one thing you see older people doing at fast food restaurants that’s worth a whirl whatever your age. Ordering kid’s meals. Yes, I said ordering kid’s meals, which is something I never would have considered doing when I was younger. In fact, I didn’t even want to take a brown bag lunch from home back then even though I am somewhat of the frugal type – I say somewhat because I do have penchant for high-end handbags.
Thankfully the resistance to brown bagging has gone the way of the Dodo, and now when I go into the office every Thursday – I’m blessed to work from home every other day of the week – I not only take my lunch, but an extra cardigan, coffee, cream and snacks. Just in case. Just in case of what, I don’t know. But, I do have a pretty good supply of snacks, single serve coffee packets and little peanut butter cups in my desk drawer to keep me going should the Apocalypse take place when I’m there.
That being said, it wasn’t until I was sitting in a Panda Express with my son, who would eat there everyday of the week if he could – pass the orange chicken please – that I decided to try something I never had done before. I noticed that the senior set was carrying away little yellow boxes instead of the regular size black bowls and white containers everyone else seemed to have. It took a few more visits for me to determine what they were, yes kid’s meals. When I looked closer not only did they contain the perfect sized meal, but they came with a chocolate chip cookie too.
When I saw the cookie I was sold – it was like a triple score, low cost, small portions and a cookie! So, the next time we went in I ordered a kid’s meal. Now I do it every-time, which always makes me feel like the server should be looking behind me for a kid to go with it. If they did, which they don’t, they’d be disappointed because there’s usually just me, my pee-wee mom and my gaining on 6’4″ son standing there waiting for our meals.
Yes, there’s a lot to be learned from people watching, no matter what the age set they are, wherever you are, which is probably a good thing since most of us encounter a lot of them no matter where we live.