The Difference Between 21 and 61 at Lorelei’s Restaurant

Gift Shop Islamorada

In Limbo Gift Shop Overseas Highway Islamorada

Hungry, thirsty and sitting in the rain on a hard chair — even if it’s on a beach and surrounded by tipsy, happy people — is not my idea of a fun time. It was at one time, though. See, I like to believe that when we get older, we become more tolerant, even if it’s not really true in all aspects. We do tend to become more forgiving of others. We don’t expect other people to be perfect because we’re wise enough to realize that everybody is flawed. We all have our quirks.

Mine is service. I expect to get service at establishments that provide service. When I don’t receive service, I get grumpy. It takes my husband much longer to reach that plateau, but he eventually gets there, too.

Sailboat at Islamorada Sunset

Sailboat at Islamorada Sunset

When I was in my 20s, like many of today’s kids, I didn’t really give a crap if I sat in a chair at a restaurant and no server approached my table to take my order because it was a treat just to sit in a chair at a restaurant. If I wanted a drink, I could ask my date to go to the bar and get it, or I could get my own then skinny butt up out of the chair and get it myself. Which is what I thought about doing last night just before it started to rain.

At first, it was just a drizzle. The band had stopped playing. My hair was already a tangled mess, and I did not care if the light mist falling turned it into a frizzled jungle. The waiter at Lorelei’s stopped by our table after we patiently waited for 20 minutes, tapped it with his fingers, “I’ll be right there,” he promised, and then ran off kicking up sand, as though to show us how fast he would return to make good on his promise. I watched the lights sparkle, wound tightly around the palm trees. He didn’t come back. Another 10 minutes passed. He especially didn’t return after the downpour started; yet guests at the other tables continued drinking and laughing.

Right there is the difference between 21 and 61. We left. There are plenty of other restaurants in Islamorada. Places where everything is not deep fried.

Photos: Gift shop in Islamorada featuring kickass 1960’s stuff, and a sailboat at Sunset, by Elizabeth Weintraub

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