Old People (occasionally) Warm My Heart

Old people: you either love ’em, hate ’em or are one. There have been other blog posts about old people that painted them in a less than savory manner. Yes, old people may have a distinct smell to them but it’s not their fault. (Honestly, I don’t know why we smell this way. I don’t even own moth balls, but I smell like I slept in a drawer full of them.) Old people may move too slowly when you are stuck behind one on a busy sidewalk on your way to work. You may resent feeling obligated to giving up your seat to one on the subway when you see a 103 year old lady who is hunched over and grasping at anything to stay upright. (Hint: sunglasses and an iPod gives the illusion that you just didn’t notice her.) Old people are the fabric of our lives and don’t let that pushy bitch Cotton tell you anything else.

The restaurant opened at 5:00 yesterday and at 5:10, two senior citizens came in for the early-bird special even though we don’t have an early-bird special. They looked like they had been married for about 150 years, give or take a decade. I imagine that their honeymoon was bathed in candle light since Thomas Edison was still a baby then and had not yet invented the light bulb. I told them they could sit anywhere they wanted seeing that we had just opened and every table was available. They chose a table on the patio that was as far away from the entrance as possible so they started walking to it as I grabbed a couple of menus and began following them. Thirty minutes later they got to table 28. The man walked way ahead of his wife who was moving slower than a drunk snail on quaaludes with jet lag after just waking up from a ten hour nap. “How rude,” I thought. “He can’t even wait for his wife?” But after he got to the table he came back to help her and I realized he was just inspecting the floor to make sure there was nothing that was going to trip her and send her out for an emergency hip replacement. There is one step down to get to the patio and he took her elbow and gently escorted her down it and then he pulled her seat out for her and helped her sit down. “I am seeing some real gentlemanly behavior all up in here,” thought I.

When it was time to take the order, he did all the talking because he was the man and that’s how things worked. They had their calamari and one glass of wine that they shared and then they enjoyed their two entrees. When it came time to offer dessert, I spoke to the husband because I could see that he was the one who wore the pants and that’s the way she liked it. After the specials were told, she told him and then he told me that she didn’t want any. He ordered a piece of chocolate cake. “Alright, one piece of chocolate cake coming right up but I’m going to bring you two forks because I know you’re gonna want some,” I said as I pointed to the woman. She laughed and shook her head. The dessert made it to the table and by the time I got over to check on them, the woman was eating a bite of the cake. Two minutes later when I went to clear the plate, it had moved directly in front of the woman who was scraping every last little crumb of chocolately goodness onto her fork. I crossed my arms and looked at her. “Uh huh, so look who the plate ends up in front of; the person who didn’t want any dessert. It was good, wasn’t it?” Her eyes lit up and she smiled the sweetest smile. She pushed the empty plate towards the center of the table and said, “I couldn’t resist. Thank you for bringing the extra fork.” I removed the plate and said. “It was my pleasure.” And you know what? It really was my pleasure. I think they had a wonderful dining experience and I made them laugh. Those two seniors were my first table of the day, but by far the friendliest one of the week.

He helped his wife up from the table and they shuffled their way out of the restaurant, arms interlocked with one another. They left me a 15% tip which was perfectly wonderful with me. The love they showed for each other put me in such a good mood that the percentage didn’t really matter. Sometimes even I, the Bitchy Waiter, can forgo the tip if I get something else out of serving someone. From them, I got that love lasts and relationships can work. They gave me hope that when I am an old lady (in about five years) I will still be going out to dinner with my husband and having a good time. I can’t, however, imagine sharing one glass of wine. That’ll never happen. Maybe share a bottle of wine, but one glass? That’s crazy talk. These old people were sweet, but maybe a little bit senile to think that was okay to do.

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21 thoughts on “Old People (occasionally) Warm My Heart

  1. MarketsNYC

    Bitchy, this is why I love you. And maybe you're not as bitchy as you think. But I promise I won't ask for 2 straws to share your bottle of Merlot when we're 123 years old.

  2. WJ

    I like old people. "Kids say the darndest things" that's BS. "Geezers say the darndest things." Senior citizens have the best stories and most of them had already fought at least two wars and built a nation out of depression by the time they were my age. At the very least, they deserve our respect.

  3. WJ

    …And they're very entertaining because they are allowed to say and do anything they want because no one will do anything about it.

  4. itswhatiam

    Thank you, BW.I love old people. They hold a special place in my heart. I've spent most of my life either volunteering or working in nursing homes, and I tend to see these people in a way that most don't.They're our history. Without them, we'd have nothing.So, thank you for this.

  5. Suzi

    I have a couple who come in every few months where I work. The first time I waited on them they were celebrating their 75th (yes, SEVENTY-FIFTH!!!) wedding anniversary. They still look at each other like I imagine they did when they were 14 years old & stealing kisses behind the schoolhouse. He holds her hand & pulls out her chair. He drinks tea so she can have a Chardonnay. They share key lime pie. We will probably never experience this sort of everlasting true love. But it makes me feel good to know that at one time people securely built their lives on it.

  6. Anonymous

    Awesome subject!I also had a regular couple that were married for 75 yrs. It was heartbreaking when he got cancer and died. The best stories come when you ask them how it all began ;-)Thanks for sharing.~ the Damn Yankee

  7. Sov

    Yeah, I'd like these folks, and have served some like them. But I got a story. 20 years ago I'm tending in a very well reviewed Italian place in the Washington suburbs. In comes an elderly couple, she in a prim dress and prim heels, he in a suit and vest, both in their 70s. They sit down at the bar, and have a scotch (he) and a white wine (she). We exchage pleasantries. They order another round. By the end of that round, he is all of the sudden swearing like a Marine drill instructer, and dribbling from his mouth. Wants another round. Won't leave the bar. Pool of dribble getting bigger on the bar. I'm not about to personally wrestle him out in front of the entire restaurant, so I've got to call the cops on him. Turns out the cops tell me this is about a once a week deal (but never at the same place) and I figured out that I never got the word from the local tender's network, or I'd never have served him in the first place.

  8. Becky

    Awww….that's so sweet…there is a couple like that who frequent my restaurant as well. They are an absolute pleasure to take care of. The husband will say to me "look at her(his wife) isnt she just so beautiful, aren't I so lucky to be with her"? My old bitter heart just melted the first time I served them:) Great post Bitchy…it's nice to be reminded that there is still love in the world…

  9. adoseoftlc

    I actually prefer elderly people over kids ANY day.. maybe it comes from working in a retirement home & being a caregiver for a woman with Alzheimer's while in HS and college.Enjoyed the post!


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