The Public Eye

printed 10/15/2021

The funny thing about William Shatner going up in space at 90 years of age is that he didn’t ask where they would be stopping for lunch.

I say that with the full knowledge that making fun of old people could lead to the immediate revocation of my AARP card — with prejudice — followed by a deluge of angry make-good bills for senior discounts that I have received but have since been cancelled retroactively.

Dear Sirs, Remember that 10 percent discount you allowed on that “Reach and Grab” pick-up stick for people with bad backs? Please be advised that Mr. Dobson is a lying sack of (detritus?), who doesn’t deserve it. Just sayin’. Sincerely, AARP.

But seriously, if you were to go up to many 90-year-olds and ask, “Hey, want to go into space?” they would answer, “where will we be stopping for lunch?”

It’s true. This is because the well-known, but little-understood lunch gene kicks in when you reach a certain age.

Suddenly and inexplicably, your greatest concern on any trip is not where you’re going, but where you’ll be stopping for lunch along the way.

I’m almost certain that if Jeff Bezos had invited my sainted mother along for the ride back in her day, not only would she have asked where the rocket would be stopping for lunch, but she also would have directed him to her preferred location.

“You will be stopping for lunch, correct?” she would say in a tone that was more of a directive than a question, quickly followed by, “Then take me to Snappy’s Pizza!”

Apparently, my lunch gene hasn’t been activated yet, as I’m more of a “let’s-keep-driving” traveler, give or take the 45 or so other “start looking for a rest stop" advisories I might issue during a trip of any significance. The thing is, the older you get, the more resting you’ll do.

Also a mystery to me is what the sound of running water has to do with the need to rest. This adds a whole new level of fear to traveling. I could be on I-95 heading to Florida (where else?) and, “Hey, I hear water running at 1432 Thump Head, South Carolina. Start looking for a rest stop, would you?”

This assumes, of course, that I do travel, which I haven’t done in so long that the inside of my luggage probably looks like a chia pet convention.

It’s not that I’m opposed to traveling — except by plane, given the recent surge of mouth frothing passengers from CrazyTown, Screwballia and Nutburg — I just haven’t found the time.

This year, though, could be different. After the past year or so, a change of scenery might be nice, and to that end I’ve been programming my phone’s navigation app with every available rest stop in the north-south corridor.

And if I happen to grab lunch during one of these relief rendezvous, well, that doesn’t count as stopping for lunch, that’s just being efficient.

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