by Viv Sade
I am no so much bothered by getting old − I much prefer it to the alternative − but I am extremely bothered by getting boring.
Take tonight, the 64th anniversary of my husband’s birth in LaPorte, Indiana — Home of the Slicers (a required phrase after the word “LaPorte,” according to Indiana statute).
We decided to use some gift cards we received for Christmas and take in a movie and then dine at a local steakhouse — not something we do very often. We were both psyched.
In the old days, on a date like this, we would have whispered sweet nothings to each other in the theatre, left without the faintest idea as to the name of the movie, had two or three cocktails at the restaurant, skipped dinner altogether and hurried home because we could barely keep our hands off of one another.
As it was, we went to an early afternoon matinée, got the senior discount, waited in a loooong line behind other cost-conscious Baby Boomers, and shuffled into the theater, complaining to one another that it must be Senior Cinema Discount Day — until we realized that we were the seniors.
The movie was good, but one man in the back of the theater laughed loudly at every scene, and since it was not a comedy, this began to annoy my husband. He would roll his eyes and grumble under his breath every time the man chortled, which made me laugh out loud, causing me to became the Second Inappropriate Laugher.
Most theaters now have nice, cozy recliners instead of those uncomfortable plastic bucket seats, which would have been nice in my youth, but these days, after I recline and use my coat as a blanket, I start to nod off just minutes into the previews.
We tried to identify the Inappropriate Laugher on the way out of the theater, but it was impossible. Besides, people were nudging each other and casting sideway glances in our direction, obviously identifying me as the Second Inappropriate Laugher, so we ducked our heads and scurried out.
On the way to the restaurant, I told my husband not to try and turn left unless he went to the nearby stoplight, which he did not do, and I inhaled sharply and might have screamed just a little as he pulled out in front of a truck and veered into the right lane. He yelled and forbade me from ever breathing or inhaling loudly — or for God’s sake, screaming — anytime he is driving.
It unnerves him, he said.
Not as much as pulling into four lanes of heavy traffic unnerves me, I thought but did not say. It was his birthday, after all.
Alive against all odds and seated in the restaurant, I ordered the sirloin steak dinner and the spouse ordered grilled swordfish, since beef always precludes a bout of no-doubt gout.
It was good, except that the Chef’s Special swordfish came with a side dish of white beans and kale. I’m a kale lover, but my husband often refers to the leafy green as “punishment.” So when I saw the fish atop a heap of beans and kale, I laughed, even as he narrowed his eyes and stared longingly at my loaded baked potato. I instinctively moved it closer to my side of the table.
On the drive home, we both looked at the dash clock in awe. By the time we drove the 20 miles or so home and pulled into our driveway, it was exactly 5:05 p.m. What a lurid night — well, afternoon, really — of debauchery and reckless adventure!
This led to a Senior Reminisce Moment. Remember when we would drink too many gin and tonics, sit on the same side of the booth in restaurants, forget to eat, stay up talking and laughing until 3 in the morning and then go to work three hours later?
Collective sigh from the two young-at-heart seniors in the front seat of the Buick LeSabre parked in their driveway.
As it was, we roused ourselves from our melancholy and simultaneously gave each other “that look.” We both knew what the other yearned for and wanted so badly. We could not wait a minute more to get into the house, run to the bedroom, tear our clothes off and …
… put on our pajamas and slippers and watch the latest episode