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Art Lee: 'So, did you go out to eat last night?'

"Food food food. Eat eat eat. That's all our age-group seems to talk about or think about. It's gotten to the point when beginning conversations with friends seem to include questions about going out to eat."

The above opinion came from an out-of-state woman who was attending a weeklong Elder Hostel educational program for seniors, the sessions held on the campus at BSU.

A follow-up on food-chats: Usually these informal talks start with the normal discussion about the weather but after that No. 1 topic is talked over, No. 2 moves in, i.e. the topic of food and going out to eat, and though there are obvious variations on the discussions, it often comes down to some basic questions that go something like:

"So, did you go out to eat last night?

(answer) "Yes."

"Where did you go?"

"To that new restaurant in town."

"What did you order?"

"Just the daily special."

"How did it taste?"


"Were the portions big?"


"What did it cost?"

(fudged answer expected; after all, there are limits to prying) "Oh, the price was reasonable."

The "conversations," of course, never go that fast nor direct; they're not that crisp or clean as the talking is more meandering because each answer usually involves some extra comments before proceeding to the wanted nitty-gritty information.

Is the food 'obsession' for real?

The retired woman who started the food dialogue was serious at the time and she added -- "No one wants to cook anymore" -- even if she was half-smiling.

Was she right? The question and the response to the same requires an answer that should begin with the first two words uttered whenever any opinion or judgement on anything is to be rendered: "It depends. . ."

Yes, it depends on who you talk to. . . and their age. . . and their location. . . and their incomes. . . and their spouses. . . and more.

More pointed responses

Other topics arose from this same Elder Hostel class. The women offered a variety of opinions on a contentious subject, like why the number of women in class outnumbered the men by more than four-to-one. Their answers were at least forthright:

"Men? well, they're lazy stay-at-homers. . ."

"Well, I think that women are just more inquisitive then men are. . ."

"Some men say it's so far from home and it's too far from their doctors . . ."

"Some say it costs too much". . . "

"He says he's sick and tired of boring classes. . ."

"Their get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went. . ."

"Well, it's always easier to stay home. . ."

"I cannot get him out of his easy chair and watching TV; 'fraid he might miss another meaningless ballgame. . . "

Perhaps the ultimate "answer" to marital un-bliss over going/not going out came in a rueful joke expressed by one student relating the story about an older couple who quarreled incessantly over everything until at last, in a huff, she finally told him: "I hope the good Lord comes soon and takes one of us. . . and then I can go and live with my sister."

Obviously, there's a pragmatic male defense to these accusations and it can at least start by quoting an elderly but indomitable Michelangelo near the end of his life who stated: "I Am Still Learning." Does he speak for retired men today?

Well, it depends. . ..

Meanwhile, did you go out to eat last night?