Friday, October 8, 2010

Tomorrow Is Garbage Day

It's late in the evening and I'm looking at the clock. 9:46 PM. Do I want to watch a recorded show before bed or just flip on live TV?

So much to do tomorrow. I have a project at work that should keep me busy for most of the morning. Then there is lunch at Broad Street with Corey, a former co-worker of mine. We have to catch up on this past weekend of football and how his LSU Tigers lucked out yet again. Dag, I haven't even had lunch with The Mrs. this week. I need to come correct this evening and treat her to some place nice.

I had lunch at a "mom & pop" restaurant today. A little hole-in-the-wall called the Marquee Fish Hut. A very, very small place. The place is so small that you have to step outside to nod your head. It's take-out only, so there's only a bench to sit on if you're waiting on an order.

I walk in and greet an older gentleman and a younger lady and place my order after perusing the menu a bit. A Philly cheesesteak minus the onions. The onions may be the best part of that sandwich to some, but to me, it may as well be poison. I despise onions.

After placing my order, I sat next to the old man. He is owner of the place. A man in his late 70's, if I had to guess. I pulled out my Tilt 2 and immediately started browsing Facebook. I figured if I had to wait 10 minutes for my food, then I might as well surf on my phone and entertain myself. The lady, who I later learned was the man's daughter, went into the kitchen to prepare my food.

The owner changed the channel on the small 13" TV to "Divorce Court". My attention immediately gazed upward towards the screen. After all, I am a Judge Lynn Toler stalker.

As the show went to commercial, the gentleman turned towards me and started to make small talk. Within 30 seconds, I let out my first of many laughs. Realizing that he was going to be way more entertaining than surfing, I put away the Tilt and started to listen to him tell a story about his morning. The more he talked, the bigger his smile got. He was enjoying being an entertainer. I was making this man's day by just listening.

As he got deeper into his story, I started thinking to myself of how it's amazing that people in the U.S. have gotten away from basic conversation. Here is a man who probably spent many evenings as a youth sitting on his porch and talking to people and I'm over here playing with my phone. I almost felt ashamed that I pulled it out of my pocket in the first place.

I'm old enough to remember being a kid and sitting around the corner of the house eavesdropping on my father and his brothers cracking jokes on the porch. They would sit outside and laugh for hours talking about everything under the sun.

Now, kids can't even ride in the same vehicle with their parents for two minutes without turning on a DVD, playing a Nintendo DS or slipping iPod headphones into their ears. No communication. Just co-existence.

As 10 minutes slipped by, I paid for my food and got ready to head back to work. The old man said that he enjoyed talking with me and that he hoped I would come back. He even said I didn't have to buy anything that I could just stop in and say "hello".

I will definitely be back. For the food, which was delicious, and for the conversation.

Today was a wake up call for me. I'm going to visit my grandmother tomorrow. I haven't seen her in weeks and at 87 years old, I need to treasure every opportunity I get with her. I'm going to sit down and we're going to talk about whatever comes to our minds.

Verbal communication is a lost art. I got reminded of that today. Dag. I also need to set myself a reminder about tomorrow.

Tomorrow is garbage day.

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