Sunday, February 16, 2014

How our date night turned Hollywood

My husband and I had a splendid Valentine's Day dinner. Not perfect. Nothing ever is. But, we had a fun night.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that our table was out in the middle of the room and we didn't get a booth, and that we didn't get to see the movie we wanted, I decided to find the humor in it all. This is a little humorous story about our evening. If you want to see the humor in life, you can probably find it. :)  


We are one of the lucky couples that are able to get in to this nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day.

I’m anticipating a great evening with the love of my life.
The restaurant he picked is one of my favorites and he knows it.

He’s doing this for me, he says.

With Frank Sinatra wafting from outdoor speakers as we walk up, I’m feeling like we are a couple straight out of a Hollywood love story. I can dream.

I’m thinking, this is romance at its finest.

 As soon as we sit down at our table, Carlos pulls a laminated card out of his apron and reads the specials in very halting English. I’m thinking, ordering will be interesting. I’m starting to worry that I won’t be able to figure out what he is saying. 

I’m thinking, this guy looks just like the endearing guy with the taco truck in the movie Turbo that we watched the other night. How did he become our server?

Carlos walks away and I survey the valentine’s dinner crowd. Pairs of people are hugging tables. We sit there and stare at our menus.  My husband hints to me that this would be a good time to play like we are in Date Night and guess the stories of the couples around us.

I chuckle to myself and don’t answer him. But, I secretly start eyeing people.

It’s not too difficult on a night like tonight. Couples dot pretty much every table in the restaurant.

There’s the guy sitting right behind my husband within my eye shot. He’s sitting there alone, except for a bunch of flowers in cellophane and a pink card on the table. He’s dressed in jeans and a v-neck, but looking kind of like Cary Grant. 

Was he going for the Cary Grant look on purpose, I wonder?  Moments later, his lady arrives. Cary Grant takes one look at her and bolts out of his chair. 

My date’s eyes rise above the top of my hair and he informs me, 

Yeah, he just got up and planted a big one on her. 

Of course, he means Cary Grant. To which I say something like, oh brother. 

The smooching between Cary Grant and his lady doesn’t stop with the big hello. I end up having a hard time focusing on my gourmet gluten free chicken pizza with leeks and goat cheese because of the kissing noises going on behind my chair.

Couple number two is in a cozy booth right in front of us. He is dressed to the nines in a navy blue military uniform adorned with lots of medals. He’s sitting directly across from his Ms. They remind me of Jeanie and Major Nelson from an old rerun of I Dream of Jeanie.

Only this gal isn’t dressed at all like Jeanie. And, she’s not smiling like Jeanie either. We weren’t quite sure why she wasn’t happy with her Major Nelson, but he sure looked nice, and as my husband quipped later, he was taking her out to a nice restaurant, wasn’t he?

My husband and I decide to bring out the cards we’ve gotten each other for the occassion. 
We’ve done this for probably twenty five Valentine’s Days.

Valentine’s dinner, bring cards and/or gifts to restaurant. It’s tradition.

At least so far.

I open my card first.

It feels like we are the only couple on an empty dance floor, only we're sitting at our table. We are sitting right underneath the disco ball. The disco ball is spinning slowly to Frank Sinatra, and I feel my face glowing pink.  It feels like Smoochie and Cary Grant and Jeanie and Major Nelson are all watching me open my card.

We both quickly read our canned Hallmark lines and I shove the cards back into my purse. So much for a romantic moment. This feels more like a sitcom.

As the dinner progresses, Carlos is proving his prowess as our waiter. He’s persistent with us, his people, throughout the evening. He’s trying to earn his wages. His boss will be proud.
My ears are straining to understand his halting English.

“Would you like to get flask that has three glasses of wine, you know, in case you want more wine?”
“Would you like another glass of wine?”
Then he says something about the dessert menu that I couldn’t quite understand.
Then I get the words “coffee”, “espresso”, and “it’s very good”, and I figured he was offering this to finish off our meal.

I say no thanks, so he says,
“Okay, I get check for you.”

I sincerely wonder at one point if we are going to be able to leave.

Next stop is the movie theater. We get there thirty minutes before our movie starts but it is sold out.

Our second choice is open so we buy our tickets and weave through the three long popcorn lines to make our way to our theater. We are the second couple in this small theater so we are there early enough to people watch.

The couple who arrived before us is right in front of us and she’s playing a game on her tablet. In walks couple number two who know couple number one.

Other couples filter in and my husband says, “Do you notice a certain demographic in here?”

There are three couples surrounding us who end up knowing each other. They start talking about going out to eat the night before and waiting three hours for a booth. They talk about what they are taking to the potluck.


I’m just sitting there feeling like I’m in Mayberry where everybody knows everybody else's business.


My image of our Hollywood romance date turns out to be right on target. 

Carlos from Turbo serves us while Frank Sinatra serenades. 

Cary Grant and his woman are playing out their own sitcom script right behind us while Jeanie and Major Nelson live out their own date night drama in front of us.

And there we are, like Tina Fey and Steve Carell, making up stories about the people on our date night.

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