Date Night in the time of a pandemic

Fri, 07/29/2022 - 10:45am

It is no mystery that people need some semblance of order and normality in their daily lives, in order to offset the chaos rattling around in their heads as a result of an amorphous, baffling, and truncated world narrative. On any given day over past several years, we all needed to reboot, reset, and retool our thinking. Furthermore, the pandemic showed us all how things can go quickly sideways when chaos trumps rationality and structure, and histrionics seemed
to rule the day as invective and nonsense could flow out of even the most level-headed mouths.
The Coronavirus also showed us how structured we all need to be, and also how we must adapt to the wrinkles and hiccups that life can arbitrarily foist on us at any moment. When the ‘rona arrived like an unexpected hurricane it rattled all of us. It showed us how some people would not defer to science to keep us moving forward. It also showed us how many folks adapted handily and did move forward. It was a simple drill: wear a mask, clean your hands, get a shot and move ahead. Pretty simple stuff; I mean we weren’t being asked to break rocks in the hot sun to stay healthy. Subsequently, we are now hurtling into the future. Come what may.
A structured routine that my wife and I had before, during, and now hopefully at the waning of the pandemic, was the simple act of going out to have supper - a couple of nights a week. We call it date night, and we document it with pictures. It’s a simple, normal and structured drill that we do that is fun. It’s a simple thing we look forward to every week, and it’s also a drill that helps the local economy moving in the right direction of supply and demand. My wife
and I need to do this simple and structured drill and we look forward to this. Hell, it’s so bloody simple to eat food and goof on each other; what’s not to like. It’s primal; eat, laugh, repeat.
Date night isn’t only about eating food and talking about everything and nothing and having some yuks. It’s about cleaning up - my wife loves a get-up and her get-ups are legion - and it’s also about being out and about with the tribe and feeling human. (I have no get-ups, but I clean up as best as I can so as not to embarrass the bride in public. Hey, I hold my own, I think.) So date night has become a whole thing: clothes, local color, food, banter, jokes, guffaws,
chortles, giggles and snickers. Again, it’s not just eating; it’s about engaging the world through observations of the human condition while sustaining ourselves with food. Plus, there is something really special about someone waiting on us and bringing us said food. It’s so civilized to casually read a menu and then tell someone what we want. And then bang, it appears. Moreover, someone will come by and ask us if it’s good. I mean how can we beat this simple and organic drill. To put a cherry on this sundae we may even opt for a dessert.
As I age and rage forward I don’t do menus when it comes to date night. I just don’t hold with this part of the dining experience with my wife. Sometimes I just ADHD out because of the complex choices and just tell my wife to tell the server what I want. (It’s easier that way for all involved.) I don’t want to even think about what to order, I just want the food I see in my head brought to me in a timely fashion; this is precisely why I love a menu with good pictures because I can simply point at the thing I want. I’ll really eat anything from the meat, fish and potato group—what the hell else is there, right? Oh yeah, I might even eat a green vegetable once in a while, and the solution for that is to have the bride order a Ceasar salad for us to share. Fussing and wringing my hands about what to eat on date night is not the way I roll. When people want to go to committee in their head while they’re sitting in a restaurant and laboring about what to eat because there is this or that to choose from, well, let’s just say this behavior can make me rather impatient. In a perfect world I’d love to see people save their indifference and befuddlement for other more daunting occasions and just order the food. Ahem, I’m sure servers share my sentiment.
Structure rules the day when it comes to date night. During the days that the ‘rona ruled our lives with shutdowns and limitations it became more apparent as to how important it was to get out of the house and hit a restaurant and see other human beings in a social context. Our go-to place, especially during the winter, is George’s in Galilee. We love this place and hung in there right until they had to close, as did many other establishments. When George’s reopened our date nights morphed into a steady, easy and structured routine. In a nutshell, here’s how it went and how it will also go come fall. First of all, we always eat supper at six. When we get to the dining room the kids at
the front of the house seat us near the fireplace. (We love the fireplace; it’s an annex to our place in Galilee.) After we are seated, the bride and I confer for about a maximum of 10 seconds about what we will order with no ambivalence whatsoever. Then, we take a date night picture for the scrapbook and then pass the food intel to our server. That’s it. Done. Then, our food comes to the table, and along with the service and the vibe in the room, it never disappoints.
We hit George’s a couple of times a week all winter long and as I write this I’m thinking of getting my first late-fall burger. My wife loves the baked cod and mashed potatoes, which she shares with me. Meat, potatoes and fish and some asparagus will make it to the table and be dispatched at a leisurely pace. Finally, when we are finished eating our supper we will often sit in the rockers in front of the fireplace and just hang and look at the fire for a bit, and as we head out the door I’ll say to the hostess, “Houlihan, next Saturday, six.” And, into the computer it goes, and we’re locked in for our next date night.
Nota Bene: The sushi at George’s is off the hook and I will be getting some before it leaves the menu for the winter. There will be some fall date nights at George’s. Just sayin’.