Epiphanies happen in really strange surroundings. I had one today in the most unlikely place. Walking into the place is eye catching. Tattoo parlor ads, band flyers, and beer posters greet you with attitude and an energy. White collar and blue collar eat and drink in the same place. Cops, nurses, bikers, teachers, tech geeks, and students mix beer, burger and tater tots with aggressive music (usually). Lured by tattoos and the best restaurant burger I have ever tasted, I met a friend for lunch. It's a place I have gone for over 15 years.
I sat at a small, square wooden table across from my friend Juan Samuel (not the ballplayer) talking about our lives. To the left of me was a smaller table of two women, They were blond, each around 40 years old. They were humming and lightly singing to a Dinosaur Jr. song from the early nineties. My sarcastic nature started to produce ridicule aimed at the 2 "middleaged" women. My head was producing this line; "Check out these two 40 year olds rocking the grunge". Then I realized. In three weeks, I'll be their age. I'm a 40 year old rocking grunge, blogging , tweeting, and carrying on like someone younger.
As I sat there, I realized that the tattooed waitresses, PG 13 or rated worse approach of my favorite burger place looked lame to the twenty somethings or younger that were dining with us. My friend Juan, is 10 years younger than me. When I leaned over to tell him my epiphany, he laughed. It wasn't a hearty laugh. It was pity laugh, like the one you give your parents when they tell a corny joke. For some reason, I was ok with the epiphany and the laugh.
The Vortex is a terrific place to eat. The waitresses are heavily tattooed, they play good music, the beer selection (if you choose to drink) has over 300 selections, and they serve tater tots with their amazing burgers. The coolest part of the place is the clientale. All ages, all walks of life, all people enjoying their coolness or desperately holding on to their faded coolness. Today, it was different for me. While, I'm tattooed (six and getting more) and I enjoy alternative attitudes and music, I realized, strangely, that I was getting older. Forty has become more than a number, it has become a benchmark. Now, I have to deal with it. The vortex of energy around me today along with the self awareness I had obviously been avoiding, set me on course for the rest of my life. The life where I'm a 40 year old.