That was the greeting I received today as I walked into a local restaurant after spending part of the day with my parents, the manager spotting my lined windbreaker as he held the door open for us to get in out of the cold Arctic (April!) wind.
“Yeah,” I chuckled, covering my hands over the white letters stitched with a shiny silver border on the blue background of the jacket. “I guess maybe I advertise it a little too much,” I joked. “Maybe I shouldn’t, huh?”
“I didn’t even know those existed!” he said, as we shuffled through the entry.
As I got up to the host’s station to request a table, my dad leaned back and said to my antagonist, “It was a rough year last year.” (My dad’s not a Lions fan, by the way, so he said it with a grin.)
And before I could hear the reply I was in a conversation with the host. But when we were seated at our table, my dad told me his response was, “It's been a rough decade.”
It’s not anything I haven’t heard many times, and I suppose by wearing the clothes or the hats or the hopeless expression of desperation, I invite those comments. And I’m OK with that.
— • — • —
We got to the table and our waiter came to take our drink order, and mentioned something about the specials being Miller Lite and another beer I don’t remember, but I was hoping they’d have a bottle of the New Glarus Crack’d Wheat that I haven’t tried yet, so I asked.
“Nope,” he said. “We have Spotted Cow.”
“I’ll take one of those,” I said.
“How old are you?” he asked, clearly suspicious that a guy of my advanced age who came in to eat with his parents on a Sunday night might possibly be underage.
Certain he was kidding, I answered, “Um...I’m 19.”
“Can I see some I.D.?” was his next question, and while I was enjoying this bit of banter, a slight pause arose in the conversation that made me ask...
“Are you serious?”
He nodded his head and said yes.
“Suuure!” I said, reaching for my wallet, always eager to accommodate anyone looking for proof that I’m really a thousand years older than they think I might be.
He looked at my I.D. and was shocked.
“Nooo!! There’s no way you’re a ’69!”
“Uhhh, yep! I am!” I leaned over and patted my hand on my dad’s shoulder. “I have witnesses!” I laughed.
“Wowww, I would’ve......never would’ve guessed......you look young!! Doesn’t he look young?? I graduated from high school in ’69!” he exclaimed as he walked away to fill our drink order of two alcoholical beers, one of which...yes, was mine. (score!)
After a line like that, my mom couldn’t resist (and I don’t blame her). “He acts young, too!” she giggled before he was out of earshot.
True, but...oh, never mind.
— • — • —
The topper of my night came when I stopped at the grocery store on my way home, and as I was in line checking out a few items, my brain whirring to gather these conversations so I could spit them back out here, the checkout girl waited for my slip to print.
If you pay with a debit or credit card, your name and information is printed on the receipt, and this store must have a policy of all the checkers calling you by name as you leave. So I’ve heard, “Thanks, Gregg...have a good night,” many times when I’ve shopped there.
But tonight was different. Of course it was, it had to be. She must’ve known I have a blog, and that I was coming home to write about odd bits of conversation. Because tonight I heard...
“Thanks, Mr. Nohhv-chek. Have a good night.”
OK, that last part I’m fine with because I hear it all the time, so I don’t even blink. But...
Did I hear “mister”?
I don’t even know who I am anymore.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that I’m THIRTY-nine and I got carded tonight?? Whoo hoo!!
That’ll carry me through my Monday.
“It is critical that parents and other trusted adults
initiate conversations with kids about underage drinking
well in advance of the first time they are faced
with a decision regarding alcohol.”
(whew! I’m so glad I had discussions about underage drinking some TWENTY years ago, so I’d be ready to smoothly and calmly handle the situation I found myself in tonight.)