I've got my 50th birthday coming up in a couple of weeks. In past years, I've wanted to eat brisquet at County Line or fajitas at El Mercado. The brisquet and fajitas at these Austin staples has degenerated in the past couple of years, though. Both used to have extremely tender meat, lately run through with fat and/or gristle. Not a treat any more.
This year, I asked that my family take me to a German place with wienerschnitzel:
I have no idea what good German restaurants exist around Austin, though there are plenty of German communities around here dating from the 1850s or so. I've been in Austin for over 30 years and have never been to New Braunfels, for instance, which is known for its German heritage and restaurants (as well as the Schlitterbahn water-park).
Just have to throw this in: I think it was my 12th birthday in Azle, when my parents were still married. I got to choose then, also, where I wanted to go for dinner. I picked Long John Silver's. My father mocked me for picking a fast-food restaurant. (He didn't just make an off-hand comment; he made me feel like a real loser for choosing such a place.)
The thing is: Up until the age of 12, I'd probably been "out to eat" maybe 5 times. Most of those to fast-food restaurants like Shakey's Pizza. (One Big Deal was going to the Officer's Club on my father's Air Force Base. Once.) So what was I to pick at age 12? Was Long John Silver's so crazy given that I'd never seen any other options? What ugly hypocrisy.
I'm about to be 50 years old, and I still wonder why in the world an adult would treat a 12-year-old like shit on her birthday. (After my parents were divorced when I was 12, there was still a lot more ugliness to come from my father. Late-night calls to the house threatening suicide. Late-night "visits" to our driveway, when the police were called but wouldn't make him leave because "his name is on the mailbox.")
My visit to him in South Dakota at 15, when he constantly berated me and jacked off in the next room. When I was 16, he was back in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and took me on my driving test... he yelled at me the whole way home, turning what should have been a fun day ("I got my driver's license!") into something shitty.
As I got older, I got to hear others' stories of their parents and of their shared milestones... What I tried to write off as "normal" when I was kid, I've since discovered was incredibly ugly and emotionally abusive in comparison.