Monday, May 17, 2010
The One Where I Missed the Meaning of Getaway
Things have been a bit busy lately. Lots of grown up stuff and kid stuff, too. The end of the school year is loaded with activities that are both delightful and sigh-inducing. i.e. Really? I have to sit through an hour and a half of a D.A.R.E. graduation? Capped by a sappy song sung by my least favorite teacher at the elementary school. But I already know Drugs Are Really Excellent. Prescription drugs, I mean.
So when on Friday night MathMan and I found ourselves suddenly and temporarily sans les enfants, we were beside ourselves with possibility. The evening stretched out before us like the old days. Like before I saw that precious yellow dress at Carson Pirie Scott in 1990 and made a high-pitched noise that indicated my maternal instinct had just clicked firmly and irrevocably into place.
Since it wasn't Sunday morning, we opted to keep our clothes on and do something different. A movie? Why should we want to sit in the dark not talking to each other? The grocery store? Too predictable. Dinner? We'd already eaten when we discovered we'd been released for the night from parenting. Think! What haven't we done in a long time or ever?
After having deposited the last child at her overnight destination, we drove through the dusk, taking our time as we meandered over the country roads. We rode with the windows down and breathed in the freedom. The air smelled like...Maui. I am not kidding. The Virginia sweetspire and honeysuckle are in full, glorious bloom and the air is so sweet you want to stick your tongue out and taste it. (I wonder if that would be okay on this low carb thing I'm doing...) The evening cooled as we zoomed along, the wind in our hair, listening to some nice Brahms* cranked past eleven and marveling at an enormous cloud that contained lightening like an electric snowglobe with lightening instead of snow.
Taking the road home, we found our calling. Perhaps it had been a subconscious nudge, the answer hidden in the depths of our collective psyche all along. Our chosen activity did not represent something one would consider a family outing. One normally would not do such a thing with children in tow unless, of course, one might require the help of a child sitting on one's shoulders, for example. But for now, it was just MathMan and me and a plan.
We'd noticed the sign he's been coveting lo these many days. It hangs like a yellow slash of memory from an abandoned Chicago hot dog restaurant. Now that the joint is kaput (sigh), the Vienna Beef sign is nothing more than a tease of delicious all beef delicacy. Like mustard and relish on a condiment table, it's just there for the taking.
Our time had come.
No one was around. I glanced at MathMan and saw the lustful gleam in his eye. He nodded. I assumed his intentions and turned into the parking lot. Because neither of us are criminals at heart, this was a risky venture for us. The restaurant is on a busy road and we could have easily been seen.
"Okay, be ready to haul ass out of here when I come back with that sign," he was looking around to make sure the place was empty."We don't want to get caught."
"Yes, yes, okay." I pulled my cellphone out of the car's console as he scrambled out of the passengers' side.
I glanced up from checking my text messages to watch him jumping up trying to pull the vinyl sign down from where it hung. He pulled once, twice.....I went back to checking my messages.
The car door opened and closed. A few seconds passed. "Are you going to drive?" I looked at him forlorn and empty-handed.
"Sure." I closed my phone, put the car into reverse, checked my mirrors, waved to our neighbor who was walking out of the adjoining Domino's Pizza, her arms laden with three pizza boxes stacked atop each other. I paused and looked at MathMan. "I guess we'll have to come back, huh? Bring a ladder and something to cut it down with?"
He just stared at me. "Yes. And someone else to drive the getaway car."
*Somewhere along the way, Brahms replaced Rush's Tom Sawyer?