Sunday, May 20, 2007

Date Night or Bust

Note: This actually happened nearly two months ago, but since I wrote it and forgot to post it, I figured it could put it up and pass it off as a current event. Well, I could have until I said that… At any rate, enjoy our calamitous date.

The moon was blue. The swallows had returned. The grunion were running. The planets had aligned (even outcast Pluto) into some sort of super-planetary arrangement where weird things are inevitable. Yes, all of these rare events add up to only one thing in this universe: It meant that Kara and I were going to go out on a date… at night… without the children… to do adult things, with adult language, surrounded by other adults. No bibs. No diapers. No sippy cups. No spelling words to each other so little ones won’t understand what we’re saying. No baths, bottles or crying, just unadulterated adultisms for a whole night. How nice.

I might even swear excessively… just because I can!

Our plans were grand: We would flee to Paris on a refurbished Concorde, dine on escargot under the glinting gaze of the Mona Lisa, stroll the moonlit skywalks of the Eiffel Tower, and conclude the evening with pastries on Les Champs-Elysees. Then maybe a gondola ride in Venice, reminiscing on the Great Wall of China, drinks down Mexico way and around the world again. Yes, grand plans, but plans are resolved to be just that: changed.

Kara hadn’t been feeling well. Something she ate, stomach bug, salmonella, tape worms, who knows, but most of her days and night have been spent in stomach-grappling agony, sleeplessly scurrying to the bathroom at all hours…basically wasting perfectly good food on a unpredictably volatile intestinal system. So Paris was out; escargot on an upset stomach is neither appealing or very healthy. Mexico will have to wait, especially since Montezuma is always on a microbial rampage in the water and that certainly wouldn’t have ended well. And the Great Wall is nixed too; basically, because I’m disgusted that the whole country is taking over the world one plastic fake vomit at a time and I’m not going to ship over any more American currency.

So, we decided to stay domestic because Kara wanted to be near flushable water… if we were going to go out at all: On the other hand, we had the babysitter scheduled for two months because she’s in such high demand, and both of us had been looking forward to going out for such a long time; it was disappointing to think that we had gone to all this trouble only to cancel at the last minute to reschedule… for who knows when, if at all?

I left it all up to Kara. If she didn’t feel good enough to go then we wouldn’t go out. I didn’t say that I wouldn’t go out, as I had been looking forward to a date for a couple of months. I said we wouldn’t go out. There was going to be a date, even if I had to take out the babysitter; someone was going to have some fun. After all, I’m paying for it.

The fateful hour dawned and Kara planned to suck it up and be a trooper; frankly, I was surprised, but then again, I think she saw there wasn’t much of an alternative. I mean, really, who wants their husband taking the babysitter out on a date?

We had a few options—dinner, movie, dinner and a movie—and we decided to keep it simple. Nothing too lavish. We stopped for dinner at Friday’s. They had just opened a month or so prior and we wanted to check it out. The d├ęcor scheme held true to other Fridays we have been to: unusual stuff hanging off of the walls in an unusual manner. The whole place seemed random, from the booth placements to the pictures, and I cringed when the guy that sold us our house bounded up on our table to say hello. He’s one of those religious zealots that believes in family, togetherness and the Almighty over the laws of mere mortal men… which is why the neighbors told us that they were happy we moved in because they were tired of the cops always being called. Apparently, he is quite used to getting his way, regardless of the opinions of his Stepford wife… and you know what they say: A wife with a black eye is one that doesn’t listen. Yet, when we visited his office (he also arranged our finances for free), it dripped of religious icons and the air was filled with music of the gospel. The neighbors replace one syllable of his name with “slime,” which turns out to be an accurate description.

Once I wiped off my hand after shaking his good bye, Kara and I enjoyed a nice dinner and good conversation. But what next? A movie? There are two megaplex theaters within a mile of each other, both playing every mainstream movie currently out, but none of them is of any interest (Winter-release movies are shockingly bad). Then again, Kara’s stomach was acting up, much to everyone’s disappointment. Let’s see, a romantic stroll down by the lakes? Nope. Sit on a bench in the park and watch the people go by? Not this time. Where to? Okay, to Target. That sounds like a good place to go on a special once-in-a-blue moon date, because we hardly ever go there. But we had a purpose: Kara needed something for her stomach otherwise this would be a very short night. As it is, the night was questionable.

After her stomach was safely lined with medicine, we decided to drive down to one of the local Indian casinos and try our luck at winning some money. First off, I won’t completely share my disdain for Indian casinos and I will try not to leech into my story how little sympathy I have for Indians on reservations in the 21st Century, but it is hard not to feel a little resentful for a group of people who have been allowed to live above the law, only regarding their own culture and heritage when it suits them. They’re profitable businessmen in Armani suits and Bulova watches who only care about making money and finding loopholes in the government, but when loopholes get closed, they become moccasin-wearing Natives twirling feathers in their fingers wondering why the government gives so little in reparations for killing their ancestors and repressing their culture. You can’t have it both ways: Be a chief or be a CEO (I know was CEO stands for, but irony in what I said aside, you know what I mean).

Either way, today’s casino-centered Indians are nothing more than hypocrites, doing today exactly what they claimed were atrocities to their people yesteryear: Give the locals firewater, greed and rob the land of its resources and native charm. Having a consumer-based, capitalistic-minded casino strips them of their rights to be referred to as Native Americans; now they’re just Americans.

At any rate, Kara wasn’t feeling any better, the slot machines made no sense (except the obviousness of converting ten dollars into 16 cents in five minutes), the smoke was pungently choking and I was disgusted by the low-class people that frequent casinos. Were we the only one without a cigarette in my mouth, a stream of swear words tumbling out of my lips, a watered-down drink in one hand and dirty money in the other?

The last straw was seeing some old Asian lady sitting in the non-smoking section, directly under a “Non-Smoking Section” sign, bright neon and flashing with an arrow, with a cigarette stuffed between her sinuous claws, arrogant that the rules don’t apply to her. That’s it.

I’ll never return.

We decided it was best for Kara’s gastro-intestinal system that we make it back to the house before a series of irreversibly bad things happen. What with the babysitter, the whole night costs a small fortune, but as they say: “A night out’s a night out.”

Next up for a little adult entertainment is May 25th, so stay tuned, as we can’t possibly have a worse time than this. Or can we?

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