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Might as Well Face It. . . .

16 November 2018

The other night we had the rare opportunity to leave the house for a date night. The world was our oyster and we were positively giddy about it.

I leaned over to T to excitedly conspire, "What should we do? Should we go somewhere where you have to actually sit down and leave a tip?"

"Only if you promise not to throw food!"

T and I are different in many ways, but are able agree on many of the more important things in life, such as the fact that pizza is really the perfect meal. We shared a pizza, topped with all the things our children hate, and then decided to give in our craving for dessert. But where to go?

Our favorite little spot had closed down for good a week before. I couldn't help but feel guilty as I recalled that the last time we had been there had been a solid two years before. The feeling passed and a quick Google search pointed me in the direction of a "dessert studio" nearby.

Now, I've never been to a place described in such a manner, so I was a little apprehensive. I quickly scanned the menu to ensure that chocolate of any variety graced the menu, but didn't look at it too closely.

I knew upon walking in that this was not my scene at all. A cluster of high school (?) or college aged  (?) kids were at the standing tables, all taking photos of their food. I looked around and imagined that they had likely also taken numerous selfies in front of the whitewashed, exposed brick wall. If only I knew their handles for Snapchat, Instagram or whatever kids are using these days.

I ventured over to read the menu more closely. There were a bunch of strange concoctions and I felt the panic rising in my chest. Turkey and cranberry ice cream? Bleu cheese and raspberry ice cream? Spumoni is as crazy as I go. Where were the normal flavors?

I turned to the dessert menu, desperately hoping there was something familiar. I spied the word brownie, ignored all the other ingredients that accompanied, and placed my order. Then I saw the tip jar.

The tip jar is a relatively new phenomenon for me. I first saw them in drive-thrus at places similar to McDonalds. Then I saw them at pizza places. Now I'm seeing it here.

I'm confused by these tip jars. Are employers no longer responsible for paying their employees? What exactly am I tipping for? You pressed a button, filled up a cup, and handed that cup to me. Good job, little buddy?

I understand the need for a tip when I go to a place with actual table service or tipping an attentive bartender or barista. I have no problem tipping in those scenarios and will happily tip more than the "recommended" amount, but these jars. . . .

After dessert I wander into Forever 21 in search of a basic striped tee. I walk in and have to walk back out to make sure that I'm in the right store.

It's hard to describe what has happened to this store, but basically it's as if the seventies, eighties and nineties exploded and left the strangest mashup of articles behind.

I wander in a daze and see my face reflected on the face of a woman who is likely in her late sixties.

It startles me and I do a double take, making sure that I'm moving a part of my body that she is not. I sigh, in relief. She is not my reflection, but she might as well be. My grand night out has resulted in a shocking revelation.

I might as well face it, I've become. . .old? Irrelevant? I don't know, but 29 sure feels like the new 60.
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