Old People, Shoney’s…and Cell Phones?!

Welcome to the Jungle


Yesterday I stepped right out of my car and straight into 1992. 

Yep, that’s right. 

I went to Shoney’s. 

I don’t know what possessed me to go to Shoney’s. I wasn’t even hungry (this, BTW did not stop me from eating 2 plates of fried chicken, smothered pork chops, popcorn shrimp,greens, mac & cheese and mashed potatoes. Thank God I’m young and have a high metabolism). Anyway, I was sitting at a red light waiting to make a left turn and the Shoney’s was across the street. 

Like many of you, my first reaction was “Shoney’s is still open?” 

Then I thought, “I wonder if they have any steak.” 

They didn’t. 

I almost passed it by. I had many reasons to pass it by, the main one being the fact that I wasn’t hungry. Next in like was it was like 8:00 p.m. and I told myself I would stop eating after 7 (much like I told myself I was going to fold and put away all of my laundry as soon as I finished washing it). Finally, I had leftover roast chicken sitting in my fridge anyway, so there was basically absolutely no need for me to go to Shoney’s. 

But the thought of all-you-can-eat buffet steak was pervasive, and at the last minute I turned my car and parked into Shoney’s parking lot. 

I walked in. 

Of course it was empty. 

I sat and began going to work on my plate of really unhealthy food that I had absolutely no excuse or reason to eat, when an elderly couple walked in. 

Please don’t think me some kind of ageist jerk, but they were exactly the old people you would expect to walk into a Shoney’s. Hunched over a little, glasses. The old woman had red lipstick and I imagine she uses hot rollers. 

They both had a sort of northern accent, and they walked in asking about the pork chops. 

“Are they better this week?” the lady asked. “Because last week they were kind of burnt on the bottom.” 

“Well..we’ve heard that they’re really tender tonight,” replied the poor teenage hostess (and in my mind I called b.s. because I imagine I was either the first or second customer there that night, and I certainly had not remarked on the pork chops’ tenderness. Though I could cut them with a butter knife). 

In the entire empty restaurant, the server seats this couple in the booth in front of me, and so I was able to watch them study the menu for whatever reason when it was clear they were there for the buffet and came regularly for the buffet, and overhear their conversation. 

“How much is the sweet tea?” asked the elderly lady. 

“Um…I think $1.49,” replied the hostess. 

“Oh, so the price came down then?” elderly lady replied. 

“Oh..um…I’m not sure…I can check,” hostess answered. 

“It was nearly $2 before,” elderly lady said to her husband as the hostess went to check. 

And then when she came back and told them it was actually $1.89, they both ordered water. 

“Well, you could get a soda or something, they’re a little cheaper,” the hostess suggested. 

“No, they’re the same price,” the elderly lady informed her. 

And I was eating and musing at this delightfully dated display, relaxing and feeling fat but comfortable in the way that only dated furniture and comfort food can make you feel comfortable, when suddenly I was reminded in no uncertain terms that it was 2010. 

The old lady’s cell phone went off. 

And it made me think about my grandparents and their cell phones. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we are definitely in a new millennium. 


3 responses to “Old People, Shoney’s…and Cell Phones?!

  1. Wow Shoneys is so throwback… My first restaurant memories as a child were going to Shoney’s and getting a cool little teddy bear with a red Shoneys t-shirt on. Ahh memories! The whole (elderly with cell phone) shows we are entering a new age, although my grandma still prefers her landlines and would be damned if some yuppie came trying to get her to go cellular.

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