A couple weeks ago something wonderful happened. Jimmy and I went out on a double date with our very best of friends, Spencer and Carey Mitchell. And we didn't have babysitters. We left our very capable teenagers in charge of their siblings and we went out.
Let's just pause for a moment to relish in the significance of this unprecedented event.
Okay. Moving on. It really was a wonderful thing. We went to an arcade/bar in Midtown (where Jimmy and I dominated in a couple vs. couple Foosball game and then Carey schooled me in Ms. PacMan) and then out for shakes and fries at a burger joint.
Without children. Without paying money for a babysitter (we pay ours in room, board, and screen time). It was a super fun night.
Jimmy mentioned it again this week, how it was as if we'd "arrived". For you see, ever since little Jackson popped out 14 years ago we have been practically prisoners in our own home. But no more. Jimmy said how he'd like to go back to the arcade. How it was fun and how he felt like an adult. (Usually we are regulated to kids night and places with a playground.)
Even though I had a wonderful evening and look back at it with lots of fondness, I replied, "I don't really want to go back there right away."
Jimmy said, "Why not?"
And I realized. Going to a bar/arcade wasn't much of an escape. At a bar/arcade it's loud. And there's no where to sit. And you have to yell to be heard. And it's not really very clean. And it's loud. Did I mention it was loud? Do you see the parallels? At my house I never sit down. I'm in a room full of loud people who play games (and drink/eat a lot) and I have to yell to be heard. And it's really dirty. You never know what you might find in the bathroom, or really, you might find dirty underwear just lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. Why would I want to go to an arcade with a bar to escape my normal life? I live in a bar!
But just as I wouldn't trade our night out with our best friends for anything, I wouldn't give up my every day life no matter how crazy, loud, and dirty it is. My whole life is a night on the town.
And there is one more parallel. I told Jimmy, "I liked the milkshake part of the date. When it was quiet and we could talk and relax." Because this is me every night when I shut down the arcade, go into my room and close the door, and eat ice cream in the peace and quiet.
I should leave a "tip jar" on the kitchen island or charge quarters to open the game cabinet. Or maybe I'm taking this metaphor a little too far...