A university town seems like a logical place to look for a lunch location. The main street had plenty of on-street parking, with meters. I made a drive-around to determine the most likely section of town to park. All situated, feeding the meter first with quarters, I proceeded to walk into a deli that was easily accessible. I stood at the counter, looked at the menu for about 5 minutes to make a decision. There was one customer ahead of me picking up pastries. The girl at the counter asked if I was waiting for lunch. When I answered yes, she informed me that lunch (the grill) closed at 3:00.
I turned around, headed out the door, turned left and scouted for another location. The buildings are jutted next to each other, intermixed with restaurant, retail, office, and apartments. The next location I spotted was a deli with hours posted on the window and door. I double-checked the door to clarify that indeed, lunch ended at 2:00. Hmm, am I seeing a pattern here?
I moved up the street another half block, saw a known sub-shop and a pizza shop a few buildings farther away. But before I could get within three buildings, I began to cough . . . cigarette smoke coming downwind my direction attacked my nose and lungs. I halted. The “smoking section” was fully operational (3 people). That’s what I call the outside of buildings now that there’s no smoking allowed inside (finally) — so — I made an about face, doubled back to B&N where I knew I’d get in and get served.
It was 3:30 pm. My standard lunch meal has been at 3 pm for probably 15+ years. For 20 years my private teaching schedule was from 4 – 10 pm, 4 evenings a week. Then, as a musician, 95% of my concert work has been evenings, weekends, holidays.
I suppose I will always be on the edge of time for work, eat, sleep. I have a similar issue with my end of workday. If I want to go out to eat after work — 90% of any restaurant, diner, cafe, deli, pantry, and coffeehouse — is CLOSED by 9:00. You may be thinking, “There’s got to be a pub open somewhere.” Yeah — but — I don’t smoke OR “drink”. I’d be happy to have a cappuccino at 10 pm except were “supposed to” drink coffee in the AM. Oh, how I dislike conformity.
Now, this is more like it — a midnight cafe.