My daughter and husband can entertain themselves and each other for hours playing “Snakebite!” It goes like this: With their arms raised, hands curved like the heads of a King Cobra, they circle each other in search of a vulnerable spot to attack. Head, ribs, stomach–when they find an opening, they strike, hollering, “Snakebite! Poisonous forever!” Good times.
We used to watch the History Channel. Lately Wipe Out has become the TV show of choice. And, yes, occasionally I pull The Bachelorette up on Hulu when no one is around. (But only because I’m a romance novelist and I have to research.)
Thinking we could elevate our entertainment tastes just a tad, I got us tickets to a piano concert. It was inspired. What a fabulous event! There was singing, too. Glorious singing by celestial children with voices that made me weep. As the show ended and the crowd filed out, the three of us–husband, daughter and I–sat, staring at the now empty stage. On either side of me, they were silent, their jaws slack.
It worked, I realized. We’re reborn. Today piano concerts, tomorrow the ballet!
Turning first to my daughter, I kissed her temple. “How you doing, dolly?”
“I think I had a seizure,” she said, shaking her head as if she had water in her ear. “I totally zoned out. What just happened? How much time passed? Can we go?”
She’s ten, I told myself. Ten. She may not be conscious of the enrichment she has just experienced, but it will linger. It will feed her for the future.
I looked at my husband. He’s the kind of guy who likes to move. All the time. Yet there he was, sitting, still staring at the stage that had just held such beauty. And he didn’t look like he’d had a seizure. I took his hand and squeezed. He squeezed back, an excellent sign.
“What are you thinking?” I whispered, remembering the old days when we’d attend the theater and talk for hours afterward. “Your first thought.”
“I’m trying to decide between hamburgers or Mexican food. We’re going to stay downtown for lunch, right?”
I’m not kidding. That’s what he said.
“Mexican,” I responded flatly, hoping we could discuss Dia de los Muertos or something cultural over Super Burritos.
I tried. But I tried to instill us with table manners, too, and that got me nowhere. Last night, they used their forks to tap out “Yankee Doodle” on their dinner plates. At least it was musical.