old men in a dairy queen

i’m sitting here…


in a dairy queen

because they have free wireless.

as you have likely gathered by now, i’m in a rural texas town.  i’m wasting time between the son’s games trying to get some work done…and maybe also doing a bit of social networking too.

to earn the network key to the dairy queen wireless (which is “blizzard” in case you’re ever in bridgeport, tx), i had to order food—which i was more than glad to do: chicken strips basket and gravy…mmmmmm comfort food. (i hope they come over here in two hours and demand that i order a blizzard!)

as i sit here at my laptop, headphones in trying to drown out jerry springer, anticipating that gravy, i observe  the locals, particularly the group of old men in overalls with their coffee cups. they appear to be assembled in a daily ritual to mark the passing of time, comment on current events, and—about ever other minute—laugh at something someone’s said.

i realize that these men, all of them 70+, have found and are maintaining the same thing: connection—no different than what I (and many like me) attempt through social networking, email, and meetups at coffee shops and bars.

as i sit here and watch these men, i can’t help but wonder what my life will look like when (if) i reach that age.

will i be gathered with a group of friends in a place like this? will i even have a group of friends?

will we even gather in person or will we frequent cobwebbed corners of coffee shops offering wireless access, using whatever whatever modern social networking portal of the day on our antiquated laptops in our quest for connection?

will my children and their families remember me at this age or will my life consist of loneliness and isolation, the only respite being the connections i make in a place that smells of fried food and cheap coffee?

and perhaps the most pressing question of all: what funny clothes will i be wearing and will i still attempting to wear some funky hairstyle?

as i’m jarred out of these thoughts by the entrance of a group of loud college-aged boys—who incidentally have come to this spot in their own pursuit of connection—i am struck that the life of the future me will be no different from the one of today.

the connection i have in my life, regardless of my age, is merely the connection i purposefully create and pursue.

if i want friends, i will behave in such a way as to keep them.

if i want to maintain a close relationship with my children and their families, i will earn it.

and if i want to go to the dairy queen or starbucks to hit the wireless, i will bribe some orderly to let me sneak out of the home and drive me there.

but i will not be wearing overalls, i can tell ya that.

8 thoughts on “old men in a dairy queen

  1. i have no doubt that you will be surrounded by a group of friends and/or family wherever you go……no matter how old you are. you attract people to you with your huge heart and sharp wit. i know i will be there with you, even if it is only through the social network portal…… but i hope it is in person. i can’t imagine my life without you placed firmly in the middle of it.

    as for the overalls………..that goes without saying. pam and i wouldn’t let you wear them, even if you WANTED to!

    • awww sweet friend…you made me laugh! and YES we’ll still be together, even then. i wonder if i’m just being short-sighted. maybe nursing homes of the future will all be wired and have little workstations where we can all still facebook and instead of MAC books, they’ll have these giant iPhone-type devices so we can still text. hmmmmmm

      thanks for staying firmly planted in my life…and for having my back on the overalls thing. 🙂

  2. There’s nothing like connections. I do believe that the long lasting friendships we have will last us a lifetime. I agree with the overalls. LET’S SAY HELL NAW TO OVERALLS!!!

  3. To quote the great EM Forster (who’s birthday is, coincidentily tomorrow) that famous dictum from Howards End: “Only connect!” By engaging with others we enlarge our world and our relationship to it. It’s one of the mottos of my life 🙂 Happy New Year, Todd!

  4. Pingback: It has to get better « t-dub's Weblog

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