Monday, August 17, 2009

Date Night Pizza In The Theater Lobby: A Tale Of Two Desperate Parents

Once a month, the kids' preschool, which is part of a temple, hosts an event called "Parents' Night Out." For a reasonable fee, a bit less than it would cost you for a regular night of babysitting, you drop your wee ones at school in their PJs with their sleeping bags, and they're entertained with arts and crafts, toys, pizza, and a couple of movies. We usually persuade our kids to do this by calling it "Kids' Night Out," an idea I shamefully stole from another preschool mom (thank you, Christine).

So while you're kids are getting settled in for an exciting evening outside the confines of your home, you and your spouse escape into the fresh night air, grab some dinner, and if the movie theater gods align with your schedule, catch a movie. But the movie theater gods really do have to align, because unless your timing is well-nigh perfect, you won't have time to dine and watch -- remember, this isn't an open-ended evening, and you don't have the option of telling the sitter to come early or stay late.

Still, it's a chance to eat something out that isn't kid food, and look at your spouse and perhaps focus on what they're saying rather than getting your kids to eat what you've put in front of them without fighting or getting side-tracked into making up an entire song about dinosaur tushies. (Yes, that really happened, though in the car, rather than at dinner, but you get the idea. I bet you never thought about dinosaurs having tushies).

Last Saturday night, when our regular sitter was unavailable, we availed ourselves of Kids' Night Out and attempted to eat and see a movie. But thanks to the nearly endless looping through various parking structures near the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, we made it to the theater just in time to buy tickets and stand in the ticket holders' line in hopes of not getting stuck seated two feet from the screen. That's when Late Blooming Dad decided he must, simply must, eat a couple of slices of pizza from Joe's Pizza of Bleeker Street. Nevermind that a faux New York pizza place was directly opposite the theater. Only the authentic article would do -- and if you've ever had Joe's, you probably understand that THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE, at least not when it's a mere four blocks away and can almost be smelled from where you are standing, if you breathe in deeply enough.

So I stood in the line, and Late Blooming Dad made a desperate run for pizza.

Poor guy, he was craving a Sicilian slice, but when he arrived, he was told it would be another four minutes until the Sicilians were out -- four minutes he just didn't have, for at that very second I was calling his cell-phone to inform him they were letting the ticket holders in, and we might have to "scrub" the mission.

Nevertheless, Late Blooming Dad persevered, and a few moments later, walked up to me near the theater, holding a white Joe's pizza box, a Dad's Rootbeer for me, and a Mexican Coke (the kind made with cane sugar, not corn syrup) for him. Trouble was, the just-out-of-high-school usher to whom we handed our tickets was not going to let us inside with the food. Late Blooming Dad appealed: "What if we eat it in the lobby?" And the older, wiser and more humane security guard behind the usher said, "Sure, come on in."

So there we were, two adults temporarily free of our preschoolers, nevertheless scarfing down our food standing up, at ninety miles per hour.

And yet, it was still Joe's, and Joe's can never really be bad.

The movie, essentially a B-picture given A-movie treatment (good writing, acting and directing, cool looking effects), was pretty good too.

So we had our dinner out, and our movie too. We even managed a frozen yogurt after the movie, and got to school just as "The Tigger Movie" -- the second kid feature of the night -- was drawing to a close.

Scarfing down pizza in the lobby of a theater and racing in to catch the movie isn't exactly what I would have called a good date pre-kids. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And best of all, I didn't have to pick up any food off the floor. So it was worth it.

1 comment:

William V. Madison said...

Dinosaur tushies! Yes! Yes, I say, yes! I see chart-busting status for this single.

This is one of the happiest stories you've told, really.

Uncle Bill