Several years and a marriage ago, I was out to dinner with my ex. We were at a steak house in Phoenix that specialized in prime rib. For the locals, it was a clone of Crescent IA's Pink Poodle, right down to the outdated 70s atmosphere, plastic drinking cups, paper napkins and condiments (A1, Heinz, etc) right on the table. And like the 'Poodle, their prime rib was also outstanding.
The customer demographic was similar too: mostly seniors with a smattering of semi-vegetarian urban hipsters who couldn't part with a select cut of bloody meat from time to time.
My ex noticed an elderly couple sitting next to us. "Check them out," she says, pointing her knife somewhere beyond my shoulder. I pretend to drop a napkin and take a quick peek.
"Aren't they cute?" She says. "What a couple -- a distinguished gentleman with his lovely bride, still going out to dinner after all these years. That's going to be us one day," she says.
I slice into a thick slab of pink meat. Blood oozes out on the plate as I plunge my fork into it.
"Just look at them," she gushed. "How many years do you think they've been marr-- "
"WAITER! BRING ME SOME MORE WATER DAMMIT!"
I jumped a little in my seat at the sudden harshness of the voice from the distinguished gentleman at six o'clock. A waiter in wrinkled, white button-down appears with a pitcher of water.
"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT I AM THIRSTY! JUST LEAVE THE GODDAM PITCHER AT THE TABLE AND GO AWAY."
"Wow, he's quite the curmudgeon," my ex says. "I wonder if we'll ever be like that?"
The light focuses intensely on me as the restaurant scene dims in the background. I am now looking directly at you, my reader, 20 years into the future, or our present time.
"She wondered if we'd be cranky old curmudgeons? Probably, if we had ever gotten there, together. The truth was that our marriage was already on the rocks. We were fighting a lot and were very unhappy. Fortunately, divorce spared us from that misery."
The background light comes back up as the noise of clinking dinnerware resumes.
"Well I don't know about you, but I can't wait till we get old. I wonder how we will look with wrinkles."
When dinner was over, and after paying our bill, we went outside to find that our car had been boxed in on the passenger side by an old Cadillac. At any given point, not more than an inch separated our car from the 'Caddy. It was truly a marvelous parking job, to get something that big so close without leaving a scratch. It was the work of a master.
The sight of the Cadillac's parking job made my ex livid. Against my wishes, she quickly scrawled a nasty note and went back inside to give it to the restaurant's manager. Meanwhile, I moved our car and waited outside. A couple minutes later, she came out of the restaurant, got into our car and began telling me what she wrote, and about her interaction with the manager. The manager told her that he knew the car's owner, and that he'd take care of the situation immediately.
As my ex was telling me this, the restaurant's door swung open violently. The curmudgeon who sat behind us emerged. He was red-faced and hollering madly while clutching the hand-written note in his meaty fingers. Boy, was he hot. He arms were flailing wildly as he made his way toward our car.
"Go Go Go!" my ex screams.
The pandemonium left me momentarily paralyzed. Before I could react, he's already at her window. With his fist clenched, he leans back and gathers to throw a heavy punch at the window.
"GO!!" She screams.
I snapped into action. In a fluid movement, I clutch and drop the stick into second, smash the accelerator to the floor and then pop the clutch. The tires squeal as we're carried forward. His hand grazes off the trunk hatch with a loud thump.
In the rear view mirror, I see the curmudgeon with both hands in the air: one still clutching my ex's hand written note, the with the middle finger raised.
Distinguished gentleman, my ass.
The power of male testosterone never ceases to amaze me. Certainly, male potency peaks around 18, but for some, aggressive behavior seemingly never ends.
Like this senior who sneak attacked me on Happy Hollow last week. 80 years old, all kitted up with apparently no where else to go, riding a top end Bianchi with deep dish carbon fiber wheels. You can read all about it in the description of my Strava segment here.
Thanks for reading. Happy Friday