We have this thing we do at dinner time, my budding family. We strap our kid into his little seat at the table and put on some fancy smancy jazz or old timey music through the Music Choice station on the tv. Sometimes Pandora. If anyone's keeping tabs on my listening habits and magazine subscriptions, then I've got some AARP mailers coming my way.
But It’s nice, eating a sit down dinner. It’s almost like being in the restaurant, if you don’t look down at the panting dogs giving you the pity eyes.
Now I’m not naïve enough to think that these quaint little dinners will last, that one day our six year old son will sit down at the table, spread the cloth napkin out on his lap and say, “Hey dad, will you put it on the Nina Simone station?” Probably not. But for now it works.
Worked, rather, as the other night while setting the table I picked up the clicker and nothing came on. The entertainment center that doubles as my son’s favorite place to play--the kitchen being a close second--showed just a single cord falling out of the back. I pulled the console out, rummaged around the nest of wires and connectors but couldn't find the problem. Finally I plopped down on the floor, inspecting the back and muttering curse words like the dad in The Christmas Story when he fought the furnace.
Still, nothing worked.
“Just come eat, don’t worry about it,” my wife said in a tone she uses when she thinks I'm doing something of little importance. It's a tone I know all too well...
“No, I’m going to fix it,” I said. I could almost hear her eyes roll
But I it was time to take stand. Most of my cool stuff has been lost in the shuffle, hidden or moved. I no longer have "stuff". A few books, a closet full of ill fitting Polos, and two turntables in the basement, the needle stuck somewhere in the middle of an Outkast album. My beer drinking is down to one, maybe two on a wild Friday night. Sports trivia, i got nothing. That wasted time I used to spend surfing the net and finding cool things on youtube? Yeah, gone. But never mind that.
This was all I wanted, a little dinner music on my old stereo system (hmm, maybe old being a key word). Was that too much to ask? Yes. Dinner was getting cold. I turned around, defeated and tangled. My wife and son stared at me. Something in my head reminded me that I was the adult. I dropped the cord to the floor. Time to eat. After all, we can always hum.