It's one of two things: Either I'm officially getting old. Or I am just entirely too overly sentimental. And there's really no cure for either scenario.
I mean, I know I'm getting old. We all are. But 31 isn't OLD old. Right? Sure, none of us are getting younger. But I've found myself using the phrase "back in my day" a few too many days in a row lately. I figure when that antiquated phrase keeps coming up, it's time to face the truth: YOU ARE OLD, LADY. AND THINGS AREN'T LIKE THEY USED TO BE.
Ok. So what started this fateful trip down memory lane, you ask? A trip to Gurnee, Illinois for the weekend. Yes, that same weekend where I almost killed myself (and if you missed that one, read it HERE).
After surviving my near death experience and before returning back to Green Bay, I was excited to dine at a place I remembered from my youth. Back in Ohio where I grew up, before the Texas Roadhouses and the Longhorn Steakhouses became the staple western themed go-to restaurants, there once was a place called Lone Star.
It was one of those cow-poke, rowdy saloon-styles designed to look dusty and dirty, like a big 'ol barn. If you neatly collected your empty peanut shells into a pile on your table, the server would walk by and sweep them right off onto the floor so that everywhere you walked, you had a little crunch in your step.
I worked there underneath the neon lights for a short time during my senior year of high school. And for quite some time after, I hung onto that bright red Lone Star t-shirt we wore with our jeans that read: "Everything's Bigger in Texas" on the back. And then a few years later, it closed its doors for good.
So when I googled "places to eat in Gurnee, Illinois" and I saw a Lone Star pop up in the search results, I searched no more. I could practically taste the Texas Rose appetizer already.
But when we walked in, it wasn't at all the Lone Star that I remembered. It was kinda fancy. No peanuts in sight. The wait staff wore button-down white dress shirts and black slacks. No jeans. No cowboy boots. No loud country music blasting from overhead. And no naked cowboy pictures in the Ladies Room.
And I got kinda sad.
It was like all those memories and all those fun times that we had there were gone, painted over with a clean new brush. Almost like they never existed at all. Maybe I was being a little overly dramatic because my life had also flashed before my eyes that same weekend when I almost died. (REALLY? You still haven't read: Six Flags. Six Stitches. yet?) But it felt like a little piece of my heart died, too.
I just wanted it to be like old times. You know? I wanted to walk in and see those same worn-out red t-shirts that I used to wear. Don't get me wrong, the food was great and the Texas Rose tasted like a battered and fried onion should. But it just felt wrong.
And I am starting to feel that same way about McDonald's, too. They're being remodeled and they just look so... modern. I miss the old red roofs. I miss plain milkshakes in regular non-clear cups. I miss the single lane drive through. I get confused now when I pull up and it's like a fork in the road- Do I take the left line or the right line? I don't want to choose.
So maybe it's a mixture of missing my youth coupled with just not adjusting well to change.
I know some people completely redo their entire house décor with new furniture and paint colorings on a pretty regular basis but that thought is horrifying to me! I have an old loveseat sleeper-sofa that weighs about 5 million pounds and is uglier than sin, but I can't part with it. It has too much sentimental value. It also has about zero monetary value. Trust me, I couldn't pay someone to take it off my hands. Or rather, out of my living room. But it was my grandmas, then it was mine in college, and now as a grown adult, I won't part with it. And believe me, I've come across some really trendy, new pink loveseats that would totally fit my girly motif, but I just can't do it.
Times change and there's not much we can do about it, but I just miss how it used to be. How I remember it being. And maybe we all look back on the past with a skewed view. Maybe things weren't so great back in my day. But it sure seems that way most of the time.
I miss conversations that didn't start with: "Did you see what so-and-so posted on facebook?" I miss talking on the phone instead of texting. I miss taking those disposable cameras into the photo department and anticipating what crazy pictures you took from years earlier that you'd long forgotten about. I miss feeling like you struck gold when you walked into a giant video rental store and grabbed the last copy of a video from the NEW RELEASES section. (I'm talking VHS tapes. The real deal of serious old school stuff.) I miss that silly "Be Kind Rewind" sticker. I miss MTV playing real full-length music videos. Yes, they really did do that back in my day.
So, I either need to book my room in an old-folks home right now because I can't handle all these new-fangled changes to the world or I need to digitally pre-order a memory-blocking microchip that can implant into my brain to stop being so darn nostalgic all the time.
The sad thing is, I say 'the brain blocker' thing in jest. But they're probably making something like that if they haven't already. In fact, back in my day I may have even watched a movie about that. On VHS. Taped off the TV. With commercials and everything. On a VHS tape that said "Guiding Light" which was crossed out. Then scribbled next to it: "Laura's 1st day of 4th grade" followed by "Homecoming" followed by the movie title.
Maybe you had those, too. Back in your day.