Last night, Hal and I had big plans to get all dressed up
and go to a holiday party. It was 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night, and per usual, we
“I just want to stay home,” I said.
“Me too. Going out is the WORST,” Hal moaned. “Should I make
“You’ll have to or else we’re never getting out of here ever
“That’s fine with me.”
“I know, right?”
When our babysitter arrived, Hal and I were still in our
sweatpants and socks.
“Ugh. I don’t want to take a shower. It’s too much work!”
“Good. Neither will I.”
Hal and I stood around being old and lame for another 30
minutes before sucking it up and (finally) getting dressed—I, in one of my
fanciest dresses and Hal in his seldom-worn tie. The theme of this particular
party was “casino night,” so we decided to go all out—black-tie prom dates
ready to take on the town!
I teased my flat hair and managed to make it look somewhat
normal (I had worn a beanie all day so that shit was flat) and Hal spritzed
some cologne in his pits because, you know, long day.
In twenty minutes, we were Producers Guild holiday party-ready. I even wore a purse for the occasion. A black one.
“This is going to be fun!”
“Yeah. People-watching at its finest.”
We high-fived each other, kissed the kids good-bye and
climbed into the car. HONK HONK!
We used to do that often. We’d get in the car with no plans and end up somewhere. In those three months before I got pregnant, we spent our time breaking every plan we tried to make.
Twenty minutes later, as we were pulling up to the party, Hal
turned to me and I turned to him and we did one of those, “Are you thinking
what I’m thinking?” things that we just do now because we’ve been married for
ten years which is an eternity (to us, anyway). Without saying anything, Hal
threw his sedan into reverse, and off we went, down Sunset and in the opposite
direction of the party.
“So, now what? Now where?”
“I don’t know. Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know, dinner?”
“Let’s get gas first.”
So we did. We got gas. And while Hal pumped, I checked the
Internet on my phone for nearby restaurants.
“We could go here? Or there. Or here or there or here?”
“Put that away. We’re just gonna drive.”
We used to do that often. We’d get in the car with no plans
and end up somewhere. In those three months before I got pregnant, we spent our
time breaking every plan we tried to make. We spent an entire week getting lost
back in the summer of 2004, ending up in Big Sur, and finally San Francisco, on
the couch of an old friend of his.
Our life doesn’t allow for that kind of spontaneity anymore, so last night, as we drove in circles through Brentwood, Westwood, Beverly
Hills, looking for something new and exciting that we had never seen or
experienced, it felt like … well … then.
It took over an hour of driving before we settled on a place
on Robertson. It was small and cozy and overflowing with very old, very
well-dressed couples. A real departure from the usual Hollywood scene where old
pairs with young and young pairs with very young.
“I think we managed to find the only place in Los Angeles
where old men have old wives.”
We assumed we’d be completely overdressed but on the
contrary—Hal was the only man in the room without a pocket square and my
vintage dress was, in fact, relatively new.
There was one table available and it was “just for us,” the
owner nudged. He was an older man, too, and he asked us if we’d like to sit
next to each other instead of face to face.
“Sure,” we agreed.
We spent the rest of the night side by side, in a restaurant
whose name I have already forgotten, on a corner, not too far from our house—a corner we didn’t even know existed until last night.
And we drank our drinks and ate our food and shared dessert
and watched and talked and laughed and listened and agreed that THIS was
exactly what we needed.
To get dressed and go out.
To make a plan and then break a plan only to end up …
wherever it was we ended up, together. In our own little world.
“I’m glad we did this
“We needed this.”
“It’s been a while since we ditched the dance and chose us.”