Back in the days of high school and college (that makes me sound so OLD!), a 3 a.m. diner trip was a routine thing on the weekend. After traipsing along the cobbled streets of Old City until closing hour at the bars, you’d walk the 10 – 15 blocks over to South Philly and cozy up in a booth at the South Street Diner to nurse your intoxication with a giant plate of greasy fries.
I never realized how drastically everything changes after starting a 9 – 5 full-time job. I once longed for Fridays as a chance to go out and get crazy with my friends. Now, I long for Fridays as a chance to throw on my pajamas, watch a movie and go to bed early to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed during the week. My ability to pull off two or three all-nighters in a week has been annihilated and I now consider myself lucky if I can stay up past 11.
While I understand that this change in schedule is a reflection of me joining society as a responsible adult, sometimes it’s worth pushing through the heavy eyelids and mental fog to spend an entire night staying up with your friends – laughs and memories you wouldn’t have otherwise had if you were asleep. Which is why I included a 3 a.m. diner trip on my 213 in 2013 Project list.
After two hours of laser tag, Katie, Kevin, Mike and I all trucked over to Founding Farmers (one of my absolutely favorite restaurants of all time, might I add) to enjoy a homey, delicious dinner. After our tummies were full, we went back home for a night of revelry. And by that, I mean staying in, whipping up delicious cocktails and playing games all night. It’s one of the many reasons why I absolutely love hanging out with Katie and Kevin – we always manage to have a fantastic time at home in our pajamas without having to go out to a crowded club. That plus they both make drinks that taste WAY better than anything you could order at a bar and you don’t have to spend $100+.
The first few hours of the night flew by as we sipped on our drinks, listened to music, played game after game and debated politics and the problem with the ever shrinking middle-class America (because we get smarter the more we drink.) After 1 AM hit though it was like time started to drag as my eyelids began to feel that all too familiar heaviness and I could tell Katie was starting to feel it too. But we were both so determined to relive the young-wild-and-free spirit of our college days and prove that we could make it all night. Cue more drinks and a game of truth or dare, and before we knew it the clock read 3.
We threw on our pajamas and coats and made our way outside as we began our trek to Tastee Diner down the street. It was eerily quiet outside and the fog was incredibly heavy, but Mike made a point to wake up anyone who might have been sleeping by singing at the top of his lungs as he danced down the street.
After getting to the diner, we curled up in a corner booth and everyone ordered their usual – something along the lines of eggs and bacon and I got my usual cheese fries and toast. At this point, we were all exhausted and barely buzzed, and if anyone has ever eaten 3 AM diner food – the only way to eat it and enjoy it is under the influence. I took one bite of my badly burnt toast and nibbled on an old, stale fry or two while the others finished up. I never wanted to go for the food anyways – I wanted to go for the experience. And a good one it was.
We walked back home and got in around 4:30. Everyone said their goodnights/good mornings and I laid my head down on my pillow as I pulled the blanket around my neck. I closed my heavy eyelids with the satisfaction of knowing that I was right… these are memories I never would have made and laughs I wouldn’t have shared if I had just gone to sleep.