This picture is completely irrelevant, as will be the rest of them.
There is something special to be said for the endurance of a woman who is willing to go out to dinner with a man who asks the waitress if she comes there often.
Granted, said 'woman' is me, and the man is my 67 year old uncle. But the whole monthly meal-sharing scenario is a lengthy exercise in patience nonetheless, only slightly surpassed in recurring inconvenience by female punctuation week.
My uncle is an incredible man, both seriously and (often) sarcastically. He hasn't worked in over 30 years, and I'm not sure another soul on the planet beyond his own is aware of the exact ways and reasons he's managed his life the way he has thus far. Though he is incredibly intelligent, he is also one of the most infuriating, stubborn, ridiculous human beings I have in the contacts of my cell phone.
Skipping forward. No one in my family enjoys hearing from the man. He forces you to have the same exact conversation thrice times in one phone call, most time drops at least one jab at you personally and another at his chosen Race of the Day, and most always finishes it all off with a healthy dollop of guilt that he doesn't hear from you more often.
Since I suffer from a chronic case of Galuska Guilt to the nth degree, I have, within the last year or so, become accustomed to trekking down to Long Beach to dine with my uncle about once a month. Benefits: Free dinner, usually expensive, and always accompanied by excessive leftovers. Usually fairly interesting conversation and detailed stories about his and my mother's past as siblings, as well as tiny gems about my grandparents I wasn't so fortunate to learn while they were still alive. Drawbacks: He most always degrades the waiter, he definitely always mentions once or twice the dates with younger women he's been on (which has effectively strengthened my gag reflex) (and also I don't mean WOMEN he's been on, I mean DATES he's been on, and there goes my gag reflex..), and it's generally hard to tell if any of the ancestral stories are true.
But you know what? The man is friggin HAPPY to see me. There are times when I get off a call with him and would rather put a bullet in my head than answer my phone the next time the ID reads UNKNOWN, but lucky for me, my suicidal instincts are easily squashed by the promise that next week, I might be so fortunate as to hear my uncle make an off-color comment about homosexuals not having the same rights as us normal folk, and I can laugh and rest in peace accepting that times have changed but sometimes people can't and never will. And we can hardly fault them for it, sometimes it's just too late to transform.
And frankly, any amount of patience ends up being worth giving my oft disregarded relative one less nite of feeling lonely, though I could be completely making that up - he could have more friends than I do and I just don't know it.
If he has more friends than I do, I need that bullet back.