Maybe it’s the shorter days, the longer nights, the unseasonable cold eight weeks ago, the unseasonable heat this month, or maybe the light at the end of the tunnel burned out, but I’ve really had to search for laughs to drag me, us, along recently.
Leslie, Martin, Peter and I had a Friday night dinner and movie date, but there was a line out the door of the restaurant we’d chosen. We had little time to spare, so we ended up at the one place I’d said no to: Red Robin. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but Peter had been there twice that week.
We’d no sooner ordered than another waitress came by and skidded to a stop beside our table. “You didn’t come say hello to me,” she said, grinning at Peter. “What’s up with that?”
Peter laughed. “I didn’t know I was coming here.”
“I’ll let you off,” she said, “I wasn’t supposed to be here tonight, but someone called in.” She looked at the rest of us. “He makes us laugh ordering ‘cish and fips’ when he comes for lunch.” Peter grinned. They make such a fuss over him at Red Robin. The bonhomie reminds him of an English pub.
Later that evening.
We were about one hour, thirty minutes into a one hour thirty-seven minute mildly entertaining movie. Peter fidgeted and twisted in his seat. Bored, I wondered? Hm, no. “Do you need the loo?” I whispered.
He was annoyed that I asked. But suddenly he got up, felt his way along the row, down the few steps, and he was gone. “He won’t know how to get back,” Leslie said, as if I didn’t know. I groped my way out and followed.
In the hallway Peter fumbled at a door marked with the international symbol for family restroom. “Can I go in here?” he asked. I nodded. He dashed inside.
Even though the movie was a bit of a ho-hummer, I wanted to see the ending. I paced outside the theater door, then noticed the sign above said “Blade Runner.” I looked around. None of the doors’ signs said “Home Again.” Ack! Was I lost? By the time Peter emerged, I’d realized our film only ran at 7:30. “Blade Runner” would be shown at 10:00 in the same theater.
Back inside, just before the closing credits, I told Leslie I’d gotten confused. Of course she laughed as she does, but I didn’t try to explain to Peter. He would’ve cracked up knowing I’d been lost…momentarily.
The next morning.
Peter was in the kitchen clattering around. I pictured dishes suffering new chips and silverware headed for the waste bin instead of the dishwasher. I went to check. Ah-h!
“Peter, those haven’t washed yet,” I yelped when I realized he’d taken dirty plates, glasses and silverware from the dishwasher and put them into cupboards and drawers. He growled and stomped away. I reclaimed the dirty unwashed.
That evening I took a couple salad bowls off the shelf. Both were encrusted with bits of tomato and lettuce. Ready made salad, right out of the cupboard! What a concept.
Peter had the last laugh, because his mistake was my fault. I hadn’t switched the color-coded sign I stick on the dishwasher from yellow/clean to pink/dirty. How was he supposed to know the things he’d removed were dirty?
2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist.