Friday, February 26, 2016

No smuggling snacks on a first date

I knew a 9:30 showing of Hail, Caesar! would be a difficult proposition given that I was coming off a night of wicked insomnia.

The fact that decorum and propriety prevented me from smuggling in any snacks made the prospect even more daunting.

I should not have gone to the movie at all. But you see, this was a first date, so I could not possibly cancel.

No ladies, I'm not back out on the market. In fact, this was a date with a man.

No gentlemen, I'm not newly out of the closet. This was a "date" with the father of one of my son's friends. Our families have gotten together on a couple occasions, but this was the first time he and I were getting together solo -- and because this is a friendship I'd like to encourage, I wasn't about to let the first ticklings of a cold or a terrible night's sleep send him an ambiguous message about my interest level.

And because you like to make a good impression on a first date, I couldn't be seen lugging in my backpack stocked with my usual selection of sodas and sweets that are intended to keep me from falling asleep, now could I?

So I reluctantly coughed up the money for an ice cream cone (they call them "Choctops" because the cones have a layer of frozen chocolate coating to keep them from becoming prematurely misshapen) and a large Coke, knowing that these would likely both be gone sooner than they could really be of any use keeping me awake. I mean, you're lucky if an ice cream cone even lasts you the trailers. The Coke was gone by the movie's 35-minute mark.

And that's when the fight began.

Oh, the fight.

My eyelids were too powerful. They were as heavy as dumbbells. I'd never willingly succumb to sleep in a theater, and even less so when sitting next to someone that I actually know. But the need was strong. Oh so very strong.

And I still had an hour left in this silly, disjointed movie.

As sometimes happens, I feel like I watched Hail, Caesar! in kind of a fugue state -- I was technically awake, but my recall of plot details was shoddy, and I'd have failed a pop quiz if one had been given to me. When we got out, I had to ask my date how certain key plot points had resolved themselves. I discovered that although I was watching the images, it appears my mind was not correctly computing the meaning behind them.

And without having dug my way nearly to the bottom of a tin of cinnamon Altoids, I wouldn't have had even that.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that my date also did not like the movie. "It left me cold," was his response to my query if he'd liked it. "It left me out cold" would have been a good rejoinder on my part.

So at least the fact that Hail, Caesar! was genuinely uninteresting and misguided played a role in the stupor in which I found myself. It would have been a real shame if I'd missed out on something great, rather than something mediocre. I think Hail, Caesar! is just one of the Coens' jokes I don't get, and believe me, there have been a lot of those in the past 15 years. (Inside Llewyn Davis being the notable exception as one of my favorite films of 2013.)

Better yet, when he dropped me off we discussed the timing for a second date.

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