Fridays at Books & Books are made for one thing: getting through them so we can have a Warsteiner dunkel at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus. Then I heard about how Becky and Cleo Jr. spend their Friday nights. They make pizza, pop popcorn, and watch a movie. The evening often involves cookies or cake as well.
I think my generation is the last who remember movie nights on TV. Growing up, television offered four channels: NBC, CBS, ABC, and a local PBS affiliate. VCR’s hadn’t been adapted to home use. No one had thought of pay cable. If you missed a movie in the theater, you had to wait for one of the networks to show it. I don’t think this wait lasted years; it probably only felt that way to a child.
My father would pop popcorn in oil on the stove, batch after batch until he had most of a doubled-up paper grocery bag filled. This popcorn tasted better than any I’ve had made with any other method – the hot air popper you used to plug in, microwave popcorn, even fairground or theater popcorn. He added just the right touch of melted butter and salt. The paper grocery bag would sit beside the couch for a few days, for whoever wanted to munch. It tasted best the second day.
I tried popping corn from scratch on the stovetop once; I ended up with charcoal, sending smoke signals.
Anyway, the thought of a new family movie night was compelling, even when presented with friends and co-workers talking shit while drinking the greatest beer on the planet. Knowing how we love our Fritz & Franz Fridays, Becky presented the offer with a little hesitation in her voice. She needn’t have worried; who wants to be the guy who’d rather get drunk than have family time?
Unfortunately, I decided to do it all. Warsteiner at Fritz & Franz with Mark, a Guinness and a chicken wing with Hilldawg and Linda at The Bar, and then movie night with Becky and Becky Jr.
Texts and calls revealed that drinking nights and family movies night run on different timelines. Cutting off drunken revelry extremely early still means you miss dinner. You arrive late, hungry, with no sympathy for your hunger forthcoming because you were supposed to be there earlier. You also miss the beginning of the movie.
Drinking with friends was a bust. Movie night was a bust. I could blame my lack of a car, but that’s a circumstance which can be worked around. I won't get into specifics of Sunday, but just know I was short of breath by day's end, having flitted through everything I had planned but without enough time to enjoy or appreciate any of them.
This weekend taught me to choose. Say yes to everything and you end up giving everyone in your life short shrift.
The hard part isn’t choosing what you like, it’s letting things you don’t choose go.