Enough about the weather! The illustration is actually several time more congenial than the experience that most people have on a Saturday night in a restaurant (especially in winter when no one has the choice of an outdoor cafe. As of last Saturday I've gone to my very last Satuday night dinner in a "serious" restaurant.
We were four, we had reservations but had to wait fifteen minutes in a very crowded little area with two sofas, one coffee table and no other waiting area except the crowded bar. We asked for a booth in the vain hope it would be a bit quieter than a table in the middle of the room. It wasn't. The sound was so intense it could have been baled and used for ballast in a ship. Conversation was almost impossible which was very frustrating as I was with people who have many interest. A conversation would have been enjoyable had it been audible.
Noise is my main complaint. I have long accepted the fact that restaurants make a killing on drinks, both wine and coffee. The simple house chardonay was actually very good but not quite worth what it cost. The servings of food are generous in an all purpose restaurant (not into haut cuisine and fancy presentations). In fact, they are generous enough older people, as we were, are not inclined to have appetizers or salads. I could not finish my pasta choice but there was not enough to do the doggie bag thing. Only one person -- who had just had a birthday and wanted to celebrate -- had a dessert which proved to be a disappointment to him.
In short, nothing was actually pleasant about the evening except the wine (and that was probably because it was a bit later than I usually eat and I was hungry). By the next morning I had decided: no more Saturday nights in restaurants. I know it's a tradition here in middle American but I've been there, done that (and enjoyed it far more at a younger age, in less popular restaurants).
I think how very easy it is to make a simple meal for friends -- at least at my age when I've also "been there, done that" with fancy main dishes. A simple entree, a roasted chicken, a pot roast, grilled fish with a very simple vegetable and with rice, potatoes or a pasta, is almost stress free. People can sit in a comfortable living room, have some wine or a drink, dunk a cracker or stiff chip in some purchased humus, or have some other simple appetizer. And talk, maybe share some piece of news or a new thought,even if you know one another well, there is always somehing to say. I won't change anyone's restaurant going habits -- except my own. Certainly my one-person boycott is not going to do the local economy any harm at all. I'm too old an grumpy to be uncomfortable and pretend I'm enjoying something that seem pointless.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!