Tonight’s commute sucked rancid, hairy swamp water. A commute that would normally take me an hour or so, and by 50 minutes in, I was maybe 2/3 of the way home.
At times like this, I do what any sane individual would do: I get off the freeway, find a place that serves booze and food, and hang out until the traffic eases up a bit. It’s usually a much better way to spend my time.
Tonight, I washed up on the shores of the Applebee’s in Fremont, right off 880 at Mowry. I think I’ve been there before, but it’s been a while. I bellied up to the bar, ordered myself a rum ‘n diet, and checked out their happy hour food menu.
One of the first things I noticed was that a fair number of the bar patrons seemed to know each other and the bartenders. While this isn’t necessarily something I’d expect from a chain restaurant, I adjust fairly easily. So I paid attention to the various conversations, and managed to contribute the following:
- A lady next to me was on her way home from the hospital, where she’d left her husband for a knee replacement surgery. It sounds like he’s likely to turn out well, as this isn’t his first rodeo there, and we talked a bit about local stuff (I lived in Fremont for about five years) and the area in the Sierra foothills where she actually lives, where I got to spend some time about 15 years ago.
- I met a very young (about a year old) and well-behaved man named Joaquin, who was supervising his dad while dad got himself something to drink.
- A nice couple about four seats down apparently get there regularly, and were enjoying their evening.
- A gentleman between them and me was away from his wings and beer more than he was enjoying them, because he apparently had to keep taking phone calls. I got a smile from him when I suggested he might suffer a “battery failure” until he got to finish his food. And his beer.
And so, half an hour or so later, after enjoying the company of a half-dozen total strangers, I was on my way again. Traffic had thinned out, and I got home in a reasonable amount of time.
Adventure and fun are where you find them.