Last night was date night. My mom took Zoe for a few hours, and Charles and I had a gift card to Cinebarre burning a hole in my pocket.
Dinner and a movie? In one fell swoop? Sure!
The next question was...what to see? What to see? The Hunger Games was playing at distinctly inopportune times; Chernobyl Diaries was getting panned. We narrowed it down to two choices: Men in Black III, or Dark Shadows.
Much as I love Will Smith and Josh Brolin, I had to go with the Amazing Duo: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. They rarely steer me wrong.
Oh, man, was I wrong this time! Seriously. We went into the theater hoping to love the movie; we left before it ended, but after both Charles and I dozed off for a little while.
It was flat. I didn't find it funny. Burton relied too heavily on wide-eyed actresses delivering one-dimensional lines.
I thought it may be that I never saw the original TV show; Charles thought it was just un-good, all around.
So was it a total waste of a perfectly good date night?
The cool thing about Cinebarre is that, well, it's also a bar. Like, with drinks and food and pinball and pool tables. We got there early. I got a glass of wine; Charles got a beer. We decided to play a game of pool...badly.
After our first game, we played against a couple of students from the nearby Naval school. They were young (early 20s) and very kind. They were both learning to be nuclear mechanics, which blows my mind completely. I learned women still cannot be stationed on submarines, which was interesting.
We had a great time playing pool with these kids.
They reminded me of...
A long time ago, I lived with my then-boyfriend, who was in the Air Force. He hadn't invited me to leave school for a year to live with him in Biloxi, Mississippi, but I did it anyway. I was a burden to him, but I was too young to realize that wasn't normal.
I made some good friends that year.
There were three Air Force cops in particular. They were kind of like my brothers, after a while. We took care of each other. When none of them could leave for Christmas that year, I made them all a turkey dinner before I, myself, headed home to New Jersey.
There was Jon. He was the male version of me, which was weird, but awesome. If I liked something, so did he. He drove an electric blue Corvette, and he let me drive it sometimes, too. We took that Corvette from Biloxi to New Orleans on Mardi Gras that year, but traffic was so bad we never made it off the main highway.
Then there was John. Not at all confusing, right? He was from Bakersfield, California, and he talked like it, too. Red hair, freckles, he was the real gentleman in the group. He opened every door, was soft-spoken and calm. You felt safe around John.
And last came Simon. The firecracker. The temper. The utter hilarity. He was a Texan, and he loved animals so much he eventually joined the K9 troops. I've rarely in my life had anyone make me laugh the way Simon could. He just had that way about him.
This was a pre-9/11 world. No one was actually worried about their security. They were likely going to spend their military careers stateside, guarding bases, keeping kids in line.
Since then, all three have gone overseas...multiple times. We lost touch long ago, but last I heard all three were still alive. I can't tell you how much I hope that's still true.
Now that I think about it, it seems right to remember them right now, considering it's Memorial Day weekend. They are faces, to me, for the faceless "military" entity. When I think about soldiers, I think about those boys. And I wish them, and all soldiers, the best, always and every day.
So if it took a game of pool before a really bad movie to make me remember my friends this Memorial Day weekend, well, then that's a date night well spent. Don't you think?