300px-WilWheatonSDCCJuly10I figured something out this weekend. Age isn’t about getting old. It’s more about the past getting farther away. It’s about the gap between how old you are, and how old the people around you are. If you are 16 but your friends are 12, then you are old.

This weekend, I was old.

I had volunteered to work a booth promoting a pop culture / science fiction convention I attend later in the summer. Essentially I stood around and tried to notify people at one convention to attend another one.

Conceptually, the two conventions are similar, but demographically the one I was standing at, is much younger a crowd than the one I was promoting.

I am told a generation gap is 7 years. This crowd was 30 years younger, and full of fans of Anime and other cartoon characters I’ve never heard of. It was a whole new universe.

It quickly occurred to me that Star Trek next generation went off the air before some of them were born. They knew who Will Wheaton was because of his role on The Big Bang Theory, and knew nothing of Wesley Chrusher her at all. He’ll be a guest at the Polaris convention.

When I was watching Star Trek, my folks were telling me how much better the original series was. Today, people talk of the new movie with that guy from Heroes that plays Spock.

I don’t feel old, until some kid tells me they’ve never seen star trek.

Today, on my way to lunch, my radio station was playing classic oldies, from the 90s.

Bloggin’ The Hut

Second weekday at my new lunch spit and I’m already the Four Square mayor. My last visit was on a Friday, and today is a less busy Wednesday at noon, do we will see what difference a crowd makes to the variety and quality of an all you can eat buffet.

The guests this week are seated far away, just outside of my optimal overhearing distance.

One man, wearing white socks and black plastic sandals re-asks about the buffet and the drinks bring free refill, but priced separate. He needs a second confirmation to understand.  Do how much will it be? With taxes?  I believe his tip will be small.

Two other men arrive with a child and sit behind me. It is clear which one is with the young boy, because he is over the top happy and condescending in his joy if everything. “Chocolate milk?” he says with such excitement, you’d think he was winning some money.

Sandal man and I catch each other’s eyes and smile. It’s funny how gleeful he is pretending to be. I’m not sure the young boy gets it.

I eat 5 slices of the same pizza, which is now gone. The other 4 pizzas on display either have mushrooms, onions, or both. Almost everyone who goes up, seems as disappointed as I am. Some go for the salad or pasta, and some go back to their table. One man starts a whole story of what happens to him when he eats red hot peppers.

The happy man goes for the desert slices and explains to the boy how cool it is to have desert before you’re done.  “I can eat in any order from a buffet”  he declare in his extra happy,  extra loud voice.

Next up, cheese only,  so I take one that looks like it has only one or two mushrooms. Maybe I can pick them off.  It’s easy to be fooled by a deep dish, but at least I don’t have mushrooms as much as surprise onions, which can upset me for 3 hours if I don’t see it before its in my mouth.

The next three patrons to enter, are a priest, a rabbi and a cowboy.  This is of course untrue, but the rest of my blog today is so uneventful that I contemplated turning to fiction in order to hold an audience. The truth is that few blogs are worthy of reading. We write them more for ourselves.

Some days, I am inspired. Today, I am more observational, and little is happening around me.

In conclusion, I end off with some Hawaiian, my less favourite pizza flavor, pay and leave less satisfied than before, but still happy and full. No pasta or dessert pizza today.

I’ll try again soon.

Story Gifting

I have written many times about the power of stories,  but today I will give an example of how they can be used to change embarrassing situations into joy.

I am seated in a lunch restaurant a fair distance from my home, with my back to the dining room. As I was eating,  I dropped some crumbs on my shirt, and when I looked down, I happened to notice the collar buttons were on the inside.  I had my shirt on inside out. I felt for the label at the back,  and it is on the outside.


My first instinct was to rush to the rest room and change it, but then I started to imagine the situation from the other side. Not from my perspective of embarrassment, but from the story I was creating for the other diners who may have noticed it.  I had created a story.

arbysA lunch trip to Arby’s isn’t usually a spectacular memory event.  If it’s your first time, then maybe you’ll remember it, or a reunion with an old friend might make it special, but 9 times out if 10,it’s just lunch.

Today however, a few observant divers will have noticed a man in the corner, alone, typing on his phone, has his shirt on backwards.

They’ll point it out to their friends, and perhaps start a conversation about whether I know. I’m not saying it is life changing, or that they’ll remember me for years, or even days, but for a moment, I was a story.

Perhaps a smile.

That’s not embarrassing. That’s a good thing.

Spontaneous conversation observations

I was having an early breakfast at a McDonalds this morning. I often enjoy the breakfast crowd, because the conversations I overhear are often quite different than other times during the day.

Today I got a treat. A women seated next to me was enjoying a big breakfast platter alone and content, when another woman walked by and recognized her.  They sparked up a full conversation of social chit chat, all the while, the second lady stood in the middle prime travel area of the dining room.

It started with; “Do you come here on your day off,  or are you on break?”

It quickly became obvious that the seated lady worked here, and was happily enjoying her previously quiet break time.  Now she was thrust into a forced polite conversation with someone I assume was not a close acquaintance but rather, just a McDonalds customer that recognized her.

Eventually, the second lady took her seat reasonably distant from the first lady, but continued to chat away at a higher than usual volume voice level, almost yelling across the distance between the two tables.

I noticed the woman on break was giving off social cues and clear body language of being trapped.  The poor woman was on break from this,  and yet still forced to smile and be friendly and social.

As a hobby over-listener,  I too got to hear it all and watch the scene unfold.  Not just me of course. Half the restaurant could hear the conversation. We all got to learn all about this McDonalds staff member’s life.

Eventually she’d had enough. She needed an out. She finished chewing and stood up quickly.  “Well, enjoy your day.” she spoke,  and then dumped her trash and shot outside to smoke.  Whoosh. She was out the door enjoying the rest of her break in peace in the shade of a nearby tree.

The moral of this story, is that smoking has hidden benefits.

Pizza Hut Bloggin

May the fourth be with you.

It’s funny how memories of past traditions can almost force you to carry them on. I am sitting on a Pizza Hut in Toronto. It’s the first time I’ve had a buffet in a very long time, since do few of their restaurant locations still have dining rooms, and even fewer have the lunch buffet. I moved back to the city in March, and the two locations nearest me don’t. Today I used Google maps and found a location I knew nothing about.

As I sit here, dipping on a Pepsi between plates, but I am compelled to blog, because my memory of pizza hut buffet includes writing about it. I the process rekindles memories of all the other pizza hut buffets I frequent, but or once did.

I remember the main one I still visit, although far less frequently since it is in Waterloo, where I had e not lived for over two years. It was on University Ave, but so it stayed busy, and was always filled with good looking students. The overhearing hobby I enjoy was most fun there. Conversations were often entertaining.

I remember the battle I had with a waitress there who would refuse to recognize me, even though I was a regular at here table once a week for months. Later, two other wait staff were friend and always greeted me with recognition.

I remember the Finch location, before it turned express. They always had a perfect orange Macaroni and cheese pasta on the buffet. The buffet at Black Creek also had awesome lunch pasta, but I only got to try it twice before they killed the buffet. Today I start a new tradition and new set of memories. All I can eat, and and blog. $8.49