Friday, August 9, 2013

A date gone awry

Song of the Day: Bombino, Amidinine

I assumed Kenz's first week back would mean there would be a lot of pictures to upload. The opposite is the case. I blame work. We've both been busy. Her, prepping for applications and the coming year of school and me, traveling to and from the Peckham Library in order to avoid distractions at the house. As a result, there's very little 'adventure' to report. My apologies.

We did, however, revive the Saturday 'date night' tradition (and, with it, the predictable unintentional comedic side-effects). 

You see, my logic is that if you're going to leave the house, ride a bus for half an hour, fight the pedestrian traffic in central London for another half an hour, then you may as well make a night of it. That means dinner and a show (or a museum or landmark or destination or whatever - just something else to justify the amount of travel it takes to get out of Camberwell). 

Kenz claims that she's 'just happy spending time' with her husband. She doesn't mind navigating upstream against tourist foot traffic, sweating on a bus, or traveling for an extended amount of time just for a nice sit-down dinner with me. 

Sure, it's sweet of her to claim that, but I call foul. 

This isn't anything new, either. We run into this at least once per weekend. It doesn't help that both of us are, by nature, indecisive.

I usually wind up giving her three options, thinking that if I narrow down the options then she should pick one. The (laughably pitiful) truth is that if she picks the option I don't want, I do my best to subtly nudge her toward my preferred option. I'm not proud of this habit. It's gotten to the point where it's transparent to the both of us that this is what I'm doing. Kenz'll usually spot it before I even know that's what I'm doing, saying something like, "ok, so what do you really want to do, David?" Guilty, I feign some sort of hedged acquiescence like, "oh, no I'm ok with what you's just that I would've thought you'd want to do x instead of y is all." It's embarrassing just to write this.

Well, last weekend, the options were:
1. Stay in, rent a movie, and have an early night. Kenz was still jet-lagged, and I was coming off a long week with little sleep.
2. Go out to dinner, but come straight back home.
3. Go out to dinner and see if there's a good movie or play to go see.

As you've probably surmised, Kenz wanted number two, but, as I've explained - number two doesn't make sense to me.

But, realizing I was doing that annoying manipulative thing that I always do, I agreed to stick to option two. We'd head out to dinner at one of Kenz's favorite sushi restaurants, enjoy our dinner, and then return home. For the record, I was the one that proposed these options. I was the one in need of a good night's sleep. I was the one that even fell asleep on the bus.

Oh, but wait. Because these little character 'traits' aren't exclusive to me. Kenz has a few of her own, one of which is an indifference to directions. You see, since we were going to her favorite restaurant, I'd assumed that we were following her lead. We both knew the general direction of the place, but neither of us had been there for a while. I saw that she had put the address in the map on her phone, so I was happy to follow along, not worried about figuring it out on my own.

We got off the bus at Aldwych, fought the evening's 20k people out for the night as we strolled north through Soho, hung a left near Seven Dials, went over to Tottenham Court Road station, and circled back through Soho. At several points, I saw her pull her phone out, examine the map, and put it back away. Not once did she give me any impression that she was lost. However, after about 40 minutes of aimless meandering, stomachs rumbling, we stopped. I asked her what the problem was. That's when she pulled out the map to reveal that she hadn't actually plugged in walking directions to the restaurant - she was just doing some amateur urban orienteering.

We shared one of those moments that could've 'turned' our attitudes for the rest of the night - one that would've resulted in us following through with date night to spite each other, each of us giving the other the cold shoulder. These are always perilous moments. Neither of us wants to jump off that deep end - into an evening of justified resentment - but it's all a matter of how stubborn either or both of us is feeling. It's easy to laugh about out of the moment - but boy, oh boy, is it not a funny situation to be in.

Defending herself, she said, "well, I haven't been here for five weeks! And, besides, you always tell me that I need to learn how to get around the city without using a map! So, it's your fault!"

Incredulous, I responded with some snarky comment I can't, at the moment, remember. Another ten minutes later, we arrived to find that the restaurant was closed. The universe has a great way of diffusing situations like these for us. Laughing (because there was nothing else to do other than realize how silly we were being), we retraced our steps to a different sushi place we'd passed a few minutes prior.

And then I returned, involuntarily, to my tactics. Mentioning that we'd been out for so looong, and that we were actually only just down the road from this play we'd not seen yet, maybe we'd want to entertain the idea of know, if we finish dinner at the right time.

I don't know if she was feeling guilty or just being the characteristically better spouse, but she agreed that if we were finished eating in time and if there were still tickets left, then maybe we could go see the play.

We did. There were. And, at 7:30, we were sitting in the Dominion Theatre, awaiting the beginning of We Will Rock You.

By the second half of the first number, I realized this was a mistake. Not only was the show bad (the singing, dancing, set design, plot - everything), but I couldn't yet figure out whether or not Kenz thought it was as bad as I thought it was. Alone, waiting for the right moment to lean over and apologize, I realized that it would've been better to just go home. Shit, it probably would've been better to stay at home in the first place. Alas, there we were, enduring what we later deemed the third worst play we've seen since moving here.

Fingers crossed it's a good show...
We were both fooled by the claim that this was a show entirely devoted to the music of Queen. We both like Queen. Who doesn't like Queen? We left there, confused as to how anyone could suck the life out of that music as effectively as they had. Kenz noted that "even the actors looked depressed."

At least this man got comfortable. Socks in the theatre because he's ready to rock.
In the end, we were even. She may have had us on a wild goose chase for a restaurant that wound up being closed, but I mistakenly bought us admission into this workshop on perseverance, moonlighting as a West End musical.

Laughing, because she 'won'.
The rest of the week, summarized in pictures: 

Galileo, at three weeks, already has an interesting hairdo.

It rained on my walk home from the library. I stood under a tree for 30 minutes to stay dry. 

Kenz ate more sushi.

Burgess Park continued to be an oasis of peace in our neighborhood.

The BMX pump track is nearly finished.

People have started riding it, despite the 'official' opening being next Friday.

It's impressive.

And much taller than I had assumed it would be.

Folks waiting to take a ride. 

Kenz didn't waste time cluttering the house.

One more week and these'll be ripe for the picking.

Some hipsters have moved in down the street.

Dudes sleeping on benches on a Friday morning. 
The Ruckers (Tina, specifically) mailed us a care package! Between a transatlantic boat ride, a customs fiasco, and a wrong address, it took much longer to get here than originally anticipated, but if finally made it. And Kenz was the one that went to the post office and picked it up for me (apparently I OWE her because it was so heavy to bring home). The whole thing started when they saw something on family vacation that made them think of me - the rest of the package was filled with several 'Merican goodies.

The loot:

Hard to get to at first...

The Ocracoke surprise!

I've already consumed half a bag. I'm going to make myself sick from eating so much so fast!

Kenz suggested one can for each of us. I disagreed. 

The Ocracoke surprise, revealed! We'll be getting some corn this weekend to celebrate!
Thanks, Tina, for the wrinkled egg package! It has been many a summer since I've received a care package, and this was welcomed with open arms (and mouths!). 


Last but not least, it's my mother's birthday today! Happy birthday, MOMA! Drive safe. 


That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend!