Please forgive me, I’ve been out of the loop. I have a baby at home and I don’t get out much. So the following may seem like the ramblings of someone who’s out of touch with the world. You see, I live in Babyland. I go to work, come home, walk my dogs and entertain a few guests.
My point is I don’t get out much.
So with my mother in law visiting, my wife and I took full advantage over the weekend by heading out for a Saturday afternoon matinee and dinner. We arrived at the theater, which is at the mall. Oh joy. I stepped up to the window and asked for two tickets.
“I’m sorry Ma’am, did you say $25? Oh, I get it. No, I’m not paying for that busload of kids behind me. I’m merely paying for myself and this pretty little lady.”
12.50 X 2 = Next time we’re going to Redbox.
Luckily I had a gift card, a birthday gift from 2 months ago to the day. I figured it would easily pay for a movie, popcorn, a drink, and some candy if needed.
“Would you like me to dispose of this card since there’s nothing left?”
I shrugged, taking my 3D hipster glasses and limping into the theatre, still reeling over the cost of an afternoon feature. I’m not some old timer who talks about an ice box and a nickel picture show. But $25? This movie better be good. I wanted to see Captain John Phillips but it was sold out. Instead, we saw Gravity, and after paying the price of admission I could feel every bit of it pulling my slumped shoulders towards the ground.
Because we go to the movies once a year, we decided to get popcorn and a soda. Why not? It was only our mortgage on the line.
“For 50 cents more we can wheel out a handtruck and cart out a five gallon bucket of Cherry Coke to your seat.”
“Sure, and a medium popcorn.”
A bubbly smile. “For only a buck extra we can fit you with an IV tube and pump delicious butter gravy into your veins until the end of the feature.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
We got our tubes and handtruck, and entered the theater to enjoy the movie. And it was good, the cinematography was amazing, although at times I got a little board with Sandra Bulluck talking to herself. But I guess the plot wasn’t the point. It took some getting used to, but at times it felt like I was around in space, with a whole lot of Cherry Coke at my side.
After the movie we were missing our kid. It’s okay, we know we're lame. We checked in at home and found out the little dude was doing just fine. Off to dinner. Walking in to the restaurant, I began to remember the world after dark. You see I spent my twenties in bars, and have pretty much had my fill of young people wearing fashionable clothes. People who leave the house when I’m getting in bed. People who would rather scowl than smile, because it’s so much cooler. I had the sudden urge to be at home, to play with my son until he went to bed, then get into pajamas and—okay, I had to get a grip.
We sat at the bar and waited for our friends, trying to pretend we wanted to be there but we kept talking about Simon. What if he missed us? Even worse, what if he didn’t?
Had our friends, Kerri and Todd not showed up, the evening could have been a dud. We would have either cried into our beers and showed pictures of our son to everyone before being politely asked to leave, or gone home early and defeated the whole purpose of our night out. Luckily they showed. Parents of a 6 and 3 year old, our friends are two seasoned vets who wouldn’t let us get away with our sappy new parent crap. They would call us out and tell us to put a sock in it. With some valuable free time they sure as hell weren’t going to listen to us go on about our toothless kid.
We settled in, and for an hour or so I fell into the conversation. We ate some pizza, downed a couple of beers, and shared some laughs. For a moment there, I even quit singing the wiggle song in my head. By the time we got our checks I felt refreshed, stepping outside with our to-go boxes in hand and smiles on our faces as we strolled under the moonlit clouds towards the parking lot. The air was cool and full of freedom as there were no strollers or grubby little waist high hands to hold. And then it happened. Todd pulled out the keys.
He pressed a button and the van lit up as the side doors simultaneously opened and the hatch popped. My first thoughts were Kitt from Knight Rider. I nodded my head in approval and felt my mouth fall open.
“That’s so cool!”
The girls giggled at us. Here we were, two fathers, getting excited over a mini van, I never thought the day would come. I looked over to my wife and caught certain look in her eyes. I would like to say it was the look of respect and love, and maybe even a spark of desire.
Or maybe she was just smirking at how domesticated I’ve become….