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Whirlygig: 96: Out on the Town

The secret lives of whirlygiggers come out

By Brandon Brady · September 24th, 2003 · Whirlygig
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Open Up and Say Ahhh
Life carries us along with its routines and minutiae. The habits of being together were illuminated for me this week as I unwittingly exposed myself to a film and a play that seemed destined to send me a message.

Actually I was just looking for entertainment in the form of a dinner and movie date with John when I suggested we venture out to see The Secret Lives of Dentists at Mariemont Theatre on Wednesday night. The movie had gotten favorable reviews and seemed like a great discussion platform since John and I are still getting to know one another. The other motivator was the fact that I really like the food at Latin Quarter next door.

The food didn't disappoint, though we were a little hurried to make the show time. I wish movies started at 8 instead of 7:30, but our waiter was helpful in delivering us drinks and entrées in record time without compromising the cozy mood the merlot established right off. We even managed to catch the last preview before the feature presentation started. Previews are one of my favorite parts -- I seem to have the attention span of a gnat.

The Secret Lives of Dentists proved to be the most realistic portrayal of marriage I've seen on film in ages. Maybe it's only a portrayal I can relate to, seeing as how my frame of reference is a failed marriage. It's not that the marriage between these two dental professionals fails, but it's definitely a relationship in trouble, bogged down with responsibilities of home and career that seem to carry the husband and wife further and further from each other to the point they barely recognize each other as the carefree lovers they used to be.

The flashbacks to the days of school and first love illustrate the point nicely for those of us who quickly get the picture that someone needs to snap out of it. It would initially seem like the wife was the more guilty of the two. Taking a deeper look, the case could be made for the husband as a player in the demise of Happily Ever After as well.

John and I discussed this over Graeter's ice cream as we strolled down the streets of Mariemont toward his car. I was impressed that he liked the film as much as I did, as it wasn't light entertainment but a sobering peek at adulthood. I suggested it should be required viewing in premarital counseling sessions for couples who might think marriage is easy, and he lightheartedly agreed.

Driving the point home on Friday night in a different venue was the production of The Dazzle presented by the Human Race Theatre Company at the Loft Theatre in Dayton. I must admit I expected a dancing and singing play from the name alone, but once inside the intimate theater setting I realized this was a darker theme far from the cabaret I expected.

My hosts, Steve and Mike, were equally surprised as we gathered for a quick shot of wine at intermission. We all agreed the acting was superb and the set design amazing, as the story evolves where once again the characters have trouble seeing their loved one as they get so caught up in themselves.

The story told is actually based on a true story of two brothers who could be easily described as dysfunctional and co-dependent. For me, the more poignant point was how Langley, the one brother, was totally self-absorbed to the point that he didn't know his brother Homer was blind. I was reminded of the movie about the dentists bogged down with life's responsibilities and losing each other.

Is this a recurring theme for the week's entertainment offerings or is it the universe speaking to me? I vow to find the joy in living and the beauty in those I love so the week won't be lost on me. Now, has anyone seen a good comedy?

-- Wendy Robinson

Can You Hear Me Now?
Saturday morning was such a beautiful day that I decided to walk down to Chili Time in St. Bernard for breakfast and to finish reading Empire Grill by Richard Russo.

Chili Time is a Jekyll and Hyde type of greasy spoon. During the day it's a family restaurant and at night, especially on the weekends after 2 a.m., it turns into a drunken free-for-all. For some reason they have only two waitresses working on weekend nights when every table in the restaurant is packed but five waitresses on Saturday morning.

It was only 11 a.m. when I finished eating my usual grease-soaked bacon and cheese omelet with hash browns and wheat toast. I had the whole walk home to try to figure out how I was going to enjoy the wonderful weather. I couldn't decide between working in the yard or cleaning the basement, so I turned on my PlayStation 2 instead and played Enter the Matrix for nearly three hours.

If Jen hadn't called me when she did, I probably would have spent the entire day playing that game. Instead we decided to drive over to Eden Park and throw around a Frisbee for a while. There was an elderly couple that stopped their walk around Mirror Lake to watch Jen and me. They were amazed that we were outside running around throwing a disc with one hand while each of us had a cigarette in the other. I guess nic fits aren't weather dependent.

After working up a sweat, we decided to try to find a place in Mount Adams for lunch. Maybe it's just me, but I absolutely hate driving through Mount Adams. The streets are no wider than an alley and nearly every road is one way. We didn't find any place we could agree on, so we decided to drive over to Hyde Park to see what that part of town had to offer.

Jen and I have different philosophies when it comes to parking. I have two good legs and I'm not afraid to use them. So I tend to park at the first space that I find even if it involves a little walking. Jen, on the other hand, doesn't like to walk anywhere and will drive around the block two or three times hoping that a spot will open up right in front of where she's going. I was nearly going to scream when we finally found a parking spot on Hyde Park Square during our fourth loop.

After a quick look around the square, we decided to make the Vineyard Café our lunch destination. They have a nice outside eating area in front. The only problem was the sound of all the traffic, and the kamikaze birds made it a little hard for me to focus much on my black bean burger.

Later that night we decided to head down to Oktoberfest with our mutual friend Ray. When we got downtown, I had trouble figuring out if I was at a German heritage festival or a Pittsburgh Steelers extended tailgating party.

A Warsteiner girl handed Ray and me stickers that neither one of us wanted to wear. I looked at Ray and asked, "What in the world am I going to do with this?"

He just smiled and quickly smacked his sticker on Jen's left breast. I quickly followed suit and placed mine on her right breast. I thought it was really funny until I realized that a lot of other women walking around with sticker breasts.

After the second round of beers, I had to go make room for more beer and left Jen waiting for her coworkers on the steps of Fountain Square. When I got back with an empty bladder and two $6 beers, Jen was talking it up to not one but three guys wearing Cingular Wireless T-shirts. I guess one of them was trying to ask her out and the other two were there for moral support.

Without saying a word, I walked up to Jen and handed her a beer. The guy was still trying to ask her out, so I decided to take my territorial pissing up a level by reaching out and grabbing the sticker that was on her left breast and putting it on mine.

Jen and I had a hard time not laughing out loud as Mr. Cingular stuttered and then decided to quickly put an end to the conversation by asking her if she was sure she didn't need a cell phone before walking away.

The little episode reminded me of a scene from one of those nature shows we used to watch in high school, except with all the violence replaced by psychology.

-- R.L. Newman


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