A couple times a month, we head out to a local restaurant for dinner in the evening. Something fairly casual, close to us, that could be anything from the Village Inn to the Outback to our local Mexican place. This is generally a nice relaxing meal. And in truth, it's a chance to do little or nothing, more than it is to taste the food.
We have a lobster roll truck here in town, and I just found out that for the next three nights, the truck is going to be at local brew pubs in my area. So for one of those evenings between four and eight, we will probably head out and grab a lobster roll. So looking forward to this one.
I have to share a truth though. If it wasn't the for the working folk's need to escape occasionally in the evening, I would be perfectly happy to settle for lunch and happy hour (and the occasional brunch) for at least eighty five percent and probably ninety percent of my food and socialization experiences. The other percent of course are those few, very special, expensive dining experience, usually saved for holidays and celebrations. Where I partake of those expensive, celebrity chef type experiences. Or concert type events when no matinee is available.
The rest of the time? I would much rather enjoy a nice, semi late lunch or a happy hour with great bar food. In fact, in general, I would happily keep most of my social and eating experience in the mainly day light hours. I look for matinees at movies and concerts. If someone wants to get together, unless they are working and cannot, I suggest brunch or lunch or some such. Like many retirees, if I can socialize during the week rather than the weekend I prefer it. But if it's a weekend get together, I still go for the day time whenever possible. And most of my retired friends (couples and singles) seem to have the same perspective.
We go to matinee or morning movies. We go out for lunch or cocktails and then head home. If it's a musical showing downtown we may go to an evening showing, but we are just as likely to try and hit the matinee then an early dinner and be home when the evening show starts, even on a weekend date.
What creates this phenomenon? It's easy to write it off as "senior discount syndrome", or the desire to get to bed early. The truth is that I and many like me are actually night owls. It's not like I'm in bed at eight, or even ten, as such. Last night I read until after midnight.
There's no denying that many things are cheaper during the day/weekdays, and that it's nice to take advantage of that (although in my case, since I always buy concessions, that movie discount is often offset). Occasionally, not so much. I'm not a big fan of the "senior plate" so I'm likely to order off the full menu, even at lunch. And while it is true some folks have night driving issues as they age, many of us have no confidence or performance issues.
I cannot speak for anyone else. For me, doing this stuff in the day versus the evening (and on the day versus the weekend), makes everything............slower and relaxed. Yesterday, just as an example, my lunch group met at that well known seafood chain, Red Lobster. We had access to both the lunch and dinner menus. Some of us had lunch (in my case, lobster roll and fries), some had food from the dinner menu. A couple of us had wine. Again in my case, the very berry sangria.
More importantly.........there was no wait. There were no fussing and loud children. The food was timely and we never had to start looking around for or waiter. And as we sat and chatted and the time moved on well past an hour, no one looked at us sideways, hinted that we should be moving on or tried to bring us our checks before we were finished with our food and had begun discussing dessert. And although we ate very well, we still had time to walk off the food rather than sit in front of the television post meal. And yes, we always tip well, especially at lunch since we know the lunch waiters are probably not hauling in what the evening folks do.
Once in awhile (as I did the other week), I take my son to either the nine thirty pm movie (usually opening night or something similar), because of his working and school schedule. This happened two weeks ago when we went to see the latest Mission Impossible. Which is also a quiet and relaxed experience, because children are not allowed into R movies after six at this theater. Most of the time though (even on the weekends when going with family), the latest I hit a movie is at one PM. It's never crowded, there are almost never teens or tweens or small children. On Tuesdays there is a five dollar all day deal. And I just find it more fun and relaxing that joining the crowd at seven or eight, be it weekday or weekend.
Next week, I'm stepping out in the evening. Our local, large outdoor "streets' shopping center has a series of concerts and the final concert is an Eagles cover band. A group of us will enjoy sitting on the lawn for the concert and then possibly be grabbing a bite. I'm looking forward do it (to the point that I realized I no longer have folding chairs and may need to get one) and am excited about going. But seriously, it's the exception rather than the rule.
I do a fair amount of "doing and going" type stuff. Lunch, happy hour, jewelry making, crafting, museum trips and concerts, the occasional one time class. Homebody that I am at heart, I am still a "doer". And once I get my son through his eight thousand dollars a semester schooling, I'll be a traveler again. No stick in the mud am I.
As long as I can do it all mainly during the day.