Thursday, June 16, 2011

Old Lady Grumpus

When I was single, I lived in the center of Hollywood, and I used to venture out regularly to its busy streets in search of food, cocktails, and of course, hunky menfolk.

But then one night, almost five years ago exactly, I ventured beyond the Hollywood environs to Venice and met a uniquely hunky man named David. We ended up getting married and having two boys, now aged two and one. I traded in the excitement of late nights on the town for the comfort of early evenings at home on the couch: wearing sweatpants, snacking copiously, and attempting to make it through a 9pm viewing of 'The Voice' without passing out.

Then last Friday night my old life called.

I was invited by some friends for a night out. We'd hit Graumann's Chinese Theater for the opening night of X Men: First Class, then have dinner and drinks at a trendy hotspot. As I considered their offer, I heard some small and long-dormant part of my soul desperately cry out, 

"You must get out of these sweatpants before they begin to bond permanently with your flesh!" 

I told my pals to count me in and spent the entire week looking forward to "Mommy's Night Out!"

Allow me to present a schedule of the evening's events:

5:45pm - David arrives home to take over the goon squad. I attempt some last minute repairs to the makeup application I had applied while making the kids dinner and then depart my home.

5:58pm - I am almost hit by a woman who is talking on her cell phone while putting on makeup and eating dinner as she drives. I begin to remember what it is like Friday nights on the L.A. roadways. I use my frown power to express my displeasure with her choices and continue on my way.

6:00pm - I've left myself 35 minutes to make the 5 mile drive from my house to the theater. Amateur mistake. The wall of traffic that confronts me on La Cienega means I'll be lucky to make it in an hour and a half.

6:30pm - Now due to meet the group, I am still inching my way forward on Highland. Deciding that I will make better time on foot, I pull off to find a lot.

6:40pm - Lot found!

6:45pm - After driving around in search of a lot attendant, I finally locate a slack-shouldered hipster talking on his cell phone. He's wearing his parking attendant hat at a jaunty angle that says, "I am only doing this job until my awesomely ironic band KITTEN ISLAND gets a record deal." He seems deeply perturbed that I have chosen to interrupt his phone conversation in order to park my car. After paying him FIFTEEN DOLLARS he waves in several general directions at once while saying, "Yeah, park over there."

6:50pm - With no help from Bag of Kittens I locate a parking spot, wedge my car in, and start to make my way toward the theater.

6:51pm - I briefly pause to shake my first angrily at the lot attendant and intone with derision, "Fifteen dollars! FOR THIS?" As I walk away I hear him muttering to the person on the other end of the line, "I don't know, some crazy lady."

6:55pm -  The four-inch heels I have chosen for this outing begin to seem like a huge mistake. I'm too out of practice on them and I almost fall over several times as I teeter through the crowds on my way to the theater. 

7:00pm - I arrive just in time and take my seat. 

7:01pm - HOLY MOSES WHEN DID THEY MAKE THE MOVIES SO LOUD? I turn to people around me and say things like, "Is this hurting your head too?" and "God, I can feel the sound IN MY TEETH!" until I am shushed by the twentysomethings in the row behind me.

8:00pm - I'm beginning to feel ill from the extra large popcorn and Peanut M&M pairing that I have chosen, but having shelled out nearly twenty dollars I'm determined to eat every last bite! That'll show 'em!

9:20pm - The movie ends and we stand in the lobby talking over the best parts and getting in a few celebrity sightings. I say things like, "Who? Joe Jonas? What is a Joe Jonas? I've never heard of him!" as my friends back away from me slowly.

9:30pm - My head still ringing from the Dolby surround sound, my stomach is turmoil from my poor food choices and growing exhausted as my normal 10pm bedtime approaches, I realize that I'm not going to make it to dinner. I say my goodbyes and limp back toward my car.

9:45pm - I drive home and contemplate the evening. I accept that the Hollywood high life is, at least for now, lost to me. The hustle and bustle that I used to find so appealing seem nothing but exhausting after a day with two Tazmanian mini-devils. What I'm looking for at the end of the day isn't so much high-heels and the driving excitement of an action film as it is fuzzy slippers and the soothing quiet of a warm bath.

10:15pm - I arrive home to find David already in bed. I grab what's left of a pint of ice cream and head toward the bedroom to polish it off before drifting off to sleep.

10:30pm - But on my way I stop by the couch and give it a heartfelt caress. I lean in close and whisper lovingly, "I missed you, friend. It will be a long while before I leave you again..."