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Thirty Three

Well, it’s finally happened.  I have reached the point in my life where my birthday is no longer the big deal I once thought it to be.  My birthday is this Friday and I will be spending eight and a half hours of it at my desk at work.  I’ll be attending a promotion ceremony for a coworker, chasing around civilians for their time cards, and fielding calls and emails that are too boring to even mention.  I have zero plans to go out and drink or party or get myself in trouble, although my husband is likely planning to do something amazing for dinner that evening.  All my excitement about the next few days is reserved for the two WWE events in June that my husband and I have tickets for, and the gifts that he’s worked so hard to make perfect.  But as far as my birthday itself?  Who cares?

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Let me assure you, my reluctance to make a big deal of a day that comes around every year has nothing to do with my desire to still be in my 20s, my inability to organize a perfect party, or my friends and family failing to make this into the huge production I secretly desire it to be.  I would much rather celebrate someone else’s big day and allow them to be the center of attention so I can enjoy myself than be the person of the hour and have all eyes on me.  I don’t expect my family to go for broke to make my birthday a huge deal and I’d feel horribly guilty if they ever did so.  I’m perfectly content with my age and the stage I’m currently at in life and sure as hell wouldn’t trade it for my 20s.  Unless we’re talking my metabolism from ten years ago, which I will gladly accept.

I’ve been watching an acquaintance of mine go crazy over her birthday, which is around the same time as mine.  She’s organizing two days of events and trying to get the maximum amount of people involved.  I keep seeing her stress about who is going to what event, who wants to do what, and a whole lot of other things that don’t seem like the kind of things one should worry about on a day they are meant to be having fun.  I won’t be going to her big event, as she scheduled it on my birthday and I feel weird about celebrating someone else’s day on my own with a bunch of her friends that I don’t know.  Unfortunately, my decision seems to have hurt her feelings, but I’d rather just have a quiet evening with my husband followed by some quality time with the child.

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Right now, there are so many amazing things set to happen that my birthday is the least of my worries or concerns.  Not only do we have a WWE Pay Per View to attend and a Raw to get to the following day, but we have some major life changes in our very near future that dwarf any birthday when compared side by side.  (Not a baby.  No one mention a baby.  There is no baby.)  It would be selfish of me to try to make this Friday into a big production when we have so many other things going on.  Not only do I not care about turning 33 all that much, I have no desire to put anything else on the back burner simply so I can feel like a princess for a few hours.  I don’t know what my husband has planned, but I know he’ll make me feel special and spoiled, and that is more than enough.

My birthday should be whatever I want it to be.  If I want it to be just another day, throw me a happy birthday wish and be done with it.  I promise it’s not some weird female trick in order to get presents and surprise parties.  Hell, you can even forget about it entirely and I won’t be put off or offended.  If I snap one day and try to organize the biggest party ever, you should decline to attend guilt-free if you so choose.  I’ve lost count of the birthday celebrations I’ve had to skip due to financial issues, scheduling conflicts, or just because I didn’t feel like going.  And that’s okay.  Birthdays shouldn’t be about how many people can be forced to celebrate your day.  It should be about what you want to do, who you want to do it with, and what kind of happiness you can find with whatever you receive.  The way I see it, as long as I’m smiling, the day went exactly as it should have.

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Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Last night was the second time in my almost 10 years of being able to drink legally that I’ve gone out on St. Patrick’s Day.  We started off at The Rathskeller, which was a zoo of drunk green people.  Next was Rock Bottom where we were able to grab some seats at the bar and get some amazing food in our bellies.  Finally, we ended up at Howl At The Moon where the husband and I eventually tapped out and left the birthday girl so we could get back to the comfort of our quiet home in Greenfield.  Rather than give a play-by-play of the night, I’m going to go down a few Best Of’s and a few WTFs.

Best Drink Of The Night:  Without a doubt, this was the RB Sweet Iced Tea at Rock Bottom.  Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka, Beefeater Gin, Bacardi Rum, Cointreau, Sweet and Sour, and Pepsi, shaken and served over ice with a lemon wedge for garnish.  One of the best Long Island’s I’ve ever had.

Worst WTF Crowd:  The Rathskeller was a mess.  I’ve been wanting to get in this place for a while, but we definitely picked the wrong night.  People were packed in like cattle; you could barely move and it sounded as though everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs in order to be heard.  Also, I get that this is a drinking holiday, but there were far too many plastered people considering how early it was.

Best Atmosphere:  Howl At The Moon, a dueling piano bar, gave the bar patrons exactly what a St. Patrick’s Day party should be about.  The music was fantastic, the performers hilarious, and the wait staff very attentive.  I’m planning to go back to this place on a non-holiday some time in the future because I just fell in love with it.

Worst WTF Drunk Chick:  Chicks actually.  A lady in her 60s and another in her 30s, both overweight and both sloppy drunk.  Old lady grabbed my back as she walked by and I had to pry her hand off of me.  Younger lady then grabbed my arm and started babbling about who knows what.  Later, while trying to dance with my two girl friends, the younger one started trying to dance with me, thrusting her crotch in my direction.  I ran.  They were a mess the entire night we were there and seemingly unable to keep their paws to themselves.

Best Pick-Up Line:  While getting ready to leave Rock Bottom, the girls took a bathroom break because we have to go in groups for some reason.  On the way out, this guy said to me:  “DAMN girl, you got a walk on you!”  I don’t know what that means, but it had me cracking up as I ran to find my husband.

Worst WTF Pick-Up Attempts:  I couldn’t hear a word this guy at Howl At The Moon was saying, but had a clear view of his butt crack unfortunately as he danced on stage.  He wore sunglasses, stumbled every few seconds, and loudly shouted in girl’s faces.  At one point I saw him lean in close to a girl and start coughing right in her face.  At another, he tried to hit on a leather-faced woman in her 60s, probably too drunk to see who he was talking to.  I wonder if anyone out there was drunk enough to sleep with him.

Best Meal:  Ball Park Pretzels at Rock Bottom; two giant pretzels brushed with ale and dusted with salt and garlic.  They serve it with a spicy spinach cheese dip that is truly liquid heaven.  This was the perfect treat and I was very tempted to see if I could order a gallon of that cheese dip to bring home.  So damn yummy.

Worst WTF Is Going On Moment:  After the husband and I left Howl At The Moon, it began to sprinkle.  Sprinkles turned into rain, and rain turned into a torrential freaking downpour.  By the time we walked about a mile back to our car, we were fully soaked through to the skin.  It was horrible, but it sobered us up 100% for the drive.

Best Happy Moment:  I have a couple.  Getting home and out of our wet clothes was amazing, as was having some snuggle time with the husband.  Aside from that though, it was truly fun to hang out with some ladies.  Being a girl with mostly male friends and being a girl who has never embraced or even found her girly side, it was nice for a change to spend some time with women who are very different from me.  I hope we get to do it again sometime soon.

Worst WTF OMG WHAT IS THAT Moment:  On the drive home, we saw this on 70.

We didn’t see anyone in the car; the driver’s side door was open and there were no visible bodies inside.  There were half a dozen people walking around near the fiery wreck, but the one car seemed to be the only vehicle involved.  I have no idea if anyone was hurt or what happened, but damn, it was scary.

Irish Luck And Green Beer

St. Patrick’s Day is this Saturday and I’m planning to brave the crowds and go out to help a friend celebrate her birthday, which happens to fall on one of the most alcohol filled holidays of the year.  I generally don’t go out on days where alcohol and celebration go hand in hand, but St. Patrick’s is one of those where my desire to go out is outweighed by my desire to avoid the types of people I’ll encounter at whatever bar I end up at.  Such as:

The Skank (Real Or Wannabe) – These chicks turn up everywhere, but on St. Patrick’s Day, they are out in masse!  Miniskirts on and cleavage out, they totter around on heels that are way too high for a night of drinking in the hopes of getting as many pairs of eyes on them as possible.  They are loud and obnoxious, hog the bathroom counter so they can check and rechecks the gobs of makeup they’ve applied, and never know when to shut up.  Often, they misjudge their body shape and wear clothing that reveals way too much; I prefer fat rolls to be covered and cellulite to remain housed underneath an appropriate amount of cloth.

The Fake Accented – Just as on Cinco de Mayo, where people develop horrible Spanish accents and put “el” in front of English words, you’ll get those who spend the entire night talking in their version of an Irish accent.  They’ll walk around saying “top o’ the mornin’” and “aye” because that’s what the Lucky Charms guy says and surely that is authentic.  Get them drunk enough and they’ll begin to confuse Ireland with other countries and start throwing shrimp on the barbie or asking you if the dingo ate your baby.

The Over Enthused – This is the guy or girl who may or may not have some Irish blood in them (probably not) but have tasked themselves with looking as stereotypically Irish as possible.  They look as if they bought out the entire holiday section of their local Walmart.  Covered in beads, donning a leprechaun hat, and dressed in green from head to toe, they have tasked themselves with pinching everyone who has chosen to skip the green attire, or at least pointing it out over and over.  Heaven forbid you encounter one with a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” button or t-shirt; you’ll be propositioned to touch their drunk lips with their own at every opportunity they can possibly create.

The Anti-Holiday Celebrator – I’m not sure why this type of person doesn’t just opt to stay home.  For some reason, they come out to the bars on a holiday they find foolish and proceed to be as anti-St. Patrick’s Day as humanly possible.  They’ll wear bright yellow or orange as a way to mock those in green, scoff at people drinking green beer or wearing beads, and loudly proclaim how lame everyone is for being excited about such a commercialized and played out holiday.  I’m as quick as the next person to laugh at someone who looks or acts ridiculous in public, but these people take the hating to a whole other level, spending their entire night in a bitter funk as those around them party hard.

The Playboy – Men confuse me.  I’m not the hottest girl out there, but I like to think I’m fairly decent looking and that I’m out of the league of certain guys, just as there are men out there who’d consider themselves out of my league.  That won’t stop a butt ugly troll from obnoxiously flirting with the hottest girl he can find, regardless of whether or not she’s already taken.  He’ll insist on buying her a drink and complimenting her physique, totally oblivious to the fact that his appearance is about to make her throw up the green beer she’s just consumed.  The main problem with the playboys is that they don’t know when to quit and will make it their goal to ignore every single NO you throw their way.

The “I’m 100% Irish” Guy or Gal – I have Irish in me and it’s possible that it’s a reason I can drink a lot (on occasion) but chances are that no one really cares.  The 100% Irish guy/girl will remind you over and over that they are the real deal.  Even if the past 4 generations of their family were born in the States and they’re a total lightweight, they’ll brag about their heritage and how it gives them superpowers over beer and liquor.  They’re usually the one in the bathroom later on praying to the porcelain god.

The General Crowds – I’m insane about keeping strange people out of my personal bubble.  The other day I ended up offending a lady who was standing about 6 inches away from my back while in line at Subway; she startled me when I turned and I moved 3 feet to my right immediately because it creeped me out, earning me a dirty look.  I don’t like being crammed into a small space with people I don’t know and it’s a guarantee that any establishment serving alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day will have its patrons ass to ass and shoulder to shoulder with each other, especially right at the bar while trying to maintain your buzz.

 

If you do go out, don’t drive drunk and murder any innocent trees, roadsigns, or people, don’t overdo it, don’t be a grumpy bastard, don’t post embarrassing photos online, and please remember to have a freaking blast!

The Single Life

I have never been as happy to be married as I was last Saturday night.  My husband and I went to a couple of bars with a friend of ours to grab dinner, listen to some live music, and indulge in some lovely adult beverages.  Our first stop was the Moon Dog Tavern, which was pretty packed but we were lucky enough to find a table right next to one that was reserved for the band.  We began ordering and quickly noticed that we seemed to be the youngest people in attendance other than the wait staff.  Eventually we spotted a band poster advertising the talent for tonight would be covering songs by Elton John and Journey.

As tempted as we were to stick around with the geriatric crowd, we grabbed our checks from our waitress and worked on finishing our drinks.  A cougar in a shirt that was two sizes too small spotted us preparing to leave and ran over to our table to claim it for her group, totally oblivious to the fact that our friend still had half a beer left.  She and her chubby friend started “dancing” behind our friend, so the beer was left abandoned and we high tailed it out of there.

After some searching, we landed at Fox And Hound and scored a high top table in the back by the basketball hoop and pool tables.  To my right was a glass partition separating our area from the main restaurant, and in the booth next to our table were two single guys, one in a striped polo and the other in a turtleneck sweater.  They eyeballed me like crazy, polo shirt edging his sleeve up more and more to show off his awful tattoo and turtleneck coming into our room to show off his skills (or lack thereof) shooting hoops.  The rest of the guys there were less than impressive; too-tan guido, guy in suspenders, oddly shaped muscle man, chubby dudes with bowl cuts, and various freaks of nature.  I love to people watch and we all had fun checking out the various patrons, but it definitely made me grateful that my single days are over and I wasn’t out at that bar to try to meet a guy and score a date.

Granted, bars aren’t the best place to meet a potential girlfriend or boyfriend, but it is a pretty easy way to meet new people, especially when your inhibitions are slightly lowered and the beer goggles are on.  I went on one date with a guy I met at a bar a couple of years before I met my husband, and there wasn’t anything terribly wrong with him except for his broken car and lack of a job and motivation.  Prior to that, I met a guy while in college at a local bar and he seemed nice enough, but he didn’t impress me enough to get a phone call after that night was over.  Other than those two, any and all guys I’ve met at bars have been creepy, unattractive, pushy, and not worth my time or manners.  I’ve left countless establishments during my single days trying to escape guys who won’t take no for an answer or who assume paying for my drink requires me to sleep with them later, or at least make out with them at the bar.

Our friend is single, which made me more aware that evening of some of the joys of being single, mainly the nonsense that goes into meeting a good guy.  If the places we went to are any indication, chances are slim to none of finding a decent person at a bar.  Meeting someone at work is an option and if I was single, the building I work in is large enough where I could meet someone and not have it interfere with my job or deal with discomfort if the relationship doesn’t pan out; my husband and I have to make an effort to see each other during the day and not once in the 19 months I’ve worked here have I ever accidentally ran into him.  Unfortunately, the selection isn’t necessarily going to be great and you run the risk of meeting someone who is married but decides to withhold that tidbit of information from you; I hear stories of married folk in my building who have a spouse at home and a special friend at work.  For those in smaller work spaces, the risk of having your love life interfere with your job is just too high to risk dating a coworker, and some offices have policies against doing so, especially when it involves a supervisor.

So, bar is out, work is out.  There’s always the option of asking a friend to hook you up with somebody.  Of course with that, you run the risk of alienating your friend if things don’t pan out or if they arrange something with a person you have no interest in.  I ticked off a friend of my mother’s when I declined an offer to go on a date with her son.  Her barely 5 foot tall son.  Who was older than me by three years and still lived at home.  Rather than go on a date to make them happy and refuse to go on a second, I turned down the entire thing and was deemed as thinking I was “too good for him.”

I met my husband online through NewBlog and got to know him on MySpace.  Obviously we have a success story with online dating, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the greatest way to meet people.  For every positive story of finding love online, there is a horror story or two to counter it.  Before I was old enough to drive, I started talking to this guy on AOL.  We talked a few times a week, exchanged photos, and got along great.  When it came time to meet, we arranged to hook up in the mall and I took one look at him and ran the other way.  He had lied about his weight by at least 100 pounds, had sent me an obviously old photo, and I could smell his BO from ten feet away.  Now that we don’t have to rely on dial-up and A/S/L questions, it’s insanely simple to find someone and start flirting online, even simpler to lie and make yourself seem twice as amazing as you actually are on your best day, and quite easy to be let down or have your heart broken in the end.

I’ve always heard that if you want to find love, stop looking for it.  I hate that saying.  It’s something I always expect to hear from incredibly attractive people who are currently in committed relationships and have not once struggled to find a date.  I do have to give it some credit though; I met my husband during a time when I had zero interest in dating and was in the mindset that all men were going to be idiots just like my ex.  Although I wasn’t actively trying to date, I did have to put in a great deal of effort to get him to notice me and after about a year, feelings developed and we began taking steps to be together.  Not looking can’t equal not trying, otherwise you’re destined for the single life for the long haul.  At any rate, I feel damn lucky that I managed to find the man I love more than words can say and I’m glad we somehow stumbled upon each other despite living 1000 miles apart at the time.  All the failed dates, bad pick-up lines, broken hearts, and bitter betrayals were definitely worth it to now be with a man who honestly loves me for better and for worse.

Ringing In The New

Happy 2012 to you all and I hope you survived last night’s festivities.  My husband and I tend to enjoy staying in on NYE; it’s nice to be surrounded by family, in a safe place where any surface can be your bed since you own it, no risk of running into or becoming a drunk driver, and the freedom to act as tame or as wild as the moment demands.  December 31st is a big deal to most; saying farewell to the year and welcoming in a brand new one, one filled with hopes and possibilities and what-if’s.  It’s a time to show off and be with the people who matter the most, either long term or just for the night.  I’ve celebrated in a few different ways over the years:

First Memorable New Years:  1991

This was the first year I was deemed adult enough to stay up until midnight.  I watched Nickelodeon until midnight while snacking on popcorn and microwavable appetizers.  Camped out on the couch in our finished basement in Connecticut, I thought I was the coolest ten year old to ever walk the Earth.

Worst/Best New Years Date:  2005

My son was only a few months old and I had separated from his biological father sometime around the first of September.  Rather than move in with a friend in less than savory conditions, I moved back in with my mother so that my son wouldn’t have to share a bedroom with me and be in a neighborhood where I feared getting shot.  I was lonely and heartbroken and frustrated so I definitely wanted to go out that night and celebrate.  I went to Good Ol’ Days, a local bar, by myself to have a couple of drinks.  I made small talk with people at the bar and eventually some guy from across the way started eying me.  He was in his 30s and had a British accent, but not the good kind.  He also smelled awful, a fact I discovered when he decided my indifference to him was some sort of odd flirtation and offered to buy me a drink.  The thought of staying and possibly being mauled by the Brit at midnight was enough to frighten the Jack Daniels right out of me.  I drove back to my son and rang in the new year standing beside his crib, where I should have been from the get go.

Most Nail-Biting New Years: 1999

Y2K.  The greatest panic over nothing from my teenage years that I can remember.  I was attending a house party with somewhere around 30 other college students, about 10 miles off campus.  Even with all the Y2K software that was downloaded and distributed, there was still the chance that power grids would fail and buildings would explode once the clock hit midnight and rang in the year 2000.  The incredibly loud festivities came to an abrupt halt a few minutes before 12am; music was shut off and everyone shut their mouths as we all gathered together to watch the ball drop.  When nothing happened at 12:01, the room let out a collective sigh, some of relief, some of disappointment, and some of FINALLY we don’t have to hear any more of this Y2K crap!  The worst thing that happened?  My ancient laptop thought it was the year 1099 on its calendar and I couldn’t change it.

Most Retirement Home-Like New Years:  1995

Stuck between the delusion that it’s uncool to go to bed early and the realization that I was 14 and had jack shit to do because I wasn’t old enough, I gave up and called it a night before 11pm.

And Now?

It sounds corny as all hell, but as long as I’m with my husband, I’m a happy girl.  For me, the way you celebrate NYE should be a reflection of how you want to spend the upcoming year.  Ringing in the year with my head in a toilet at some bar wouldn’t be a great start, nor would being apart when the clock struck midnight or doing something out of character for us both.  This is the reason I’ve gone without the midnight kiss; if I’m not with a person who is following me through into the new year, I’m letting my lips stay lonely.  It may be a bit of a superstition on my part, but I think as long as my husband and I are together and happy when the ball drops, we’re on the right path to making the brand new year a little bit better than the one we just put behind us.

Cancer Sticks

I had my first cigarette when I was around 14 or 15 while trying to impress a friend.  I smoked on occasion during my senior year of high school, hiding cigarettes in an Altoids container so no one at school or at home would know.  One I started college, I began smoking Marlboro Reds on a regular basis; I used my meal card three times a week to get a Cafe Mocha from the Starbucks on campus and would have two cigarettes with my coffee before my 8am class.  My college boyfriend disapproved of my smoking and asked me to quit, but instead I promised him nothing and adjusted my habits and simply didn’t smoke when he was around.  I smoked anywhere from two to five per day depending on what I was doing and who was around me, often quitting entirely during the winter months.  When I began waiting tables for the first time, my smoking increased to around half a pack a day.  I quit when I had my child but started immediately after he was born; I blamed stress at the time but in reality I was simply too weak to resist.  When my husband and I got together, he told me that he wouldn’t be with me if I continued smoking so I threw away my open pack and, other than a night in New Orleans and a couple stressful spring break days, we have both been cigarette free for nearly four years.

Quitting smoking is one of those things that you have to do for yourself.  You choose to start and you have to choose to stop.  No amount of scary advertising and warnings will get a smoker to drop the habit if they don’t want to.  I didn’t quit until I had good enough reasons to; those being my pregnancy with my son and my desire to marry my husband.  I realize that I was wasting my breath when I attempted to preach to people about the dangers of smoking during my off-times.  I have no doubt that the dangers of smoking are no mystery to anyone anymore and it’s just not my place to tell someone else what to do, especially those who aren’t a vital part of my life the way my immediate family is.  As long as those who smoke are respectful and don’t light up in my home or car or any other inappropriate setting, it doesn’t bother me and I keep my lips shut.

When I began my current job, a coworker asked me if I smoked.  When I responded that I did not, they told me that the job would get me started on them soon.  It was an odd thing to say, but I didn’t think much of it.  Throughout the sixteen months that I’ve been here, I’ve frequently been asked if I smoke and lately I’ve been getting some odd reactions when I respond in the negative.  The conversation goes something like this:  Person: “Do you smoke?” Me: “No.” Person: “Why?”  Me: …….

For some reason, lately I’m being asked to give an explanation for why I choose not to smoke.  Upon telling one person that I quit a few years back, I was asked why I don’t start up again.  I’ve been feeling as though people expect me to justify myself to them as to why I don’t smoke and it’s nonsense.  If anything, they should have to explain to me why they choose to smoke in the parking lots and force me to walk through a cloud of smoke.

I’m no stranger to alcoholic beverages and I could never see myself asking someone why they don’t drink.  I know fully well how alcohol can damage the body and the negative effects it has on both the individual and their family, so it’s pointless to ask someone why because I already have the answer.  Even so, sometimes I find myself wondering why a particular person isn’t drinking when the rest of the group is.  I’m not going around asking people, but in a way I’m being just as bad as those who question my non-smoking habit by the thoughts I’m having and not knowing their situation or lifestyle choices.  I shouldn’t be critical in voice or in thought of people avoiding a harmful activity.  It would be absurd for me to begin asking people if they did meth and demand a reason why if they say they don’t, yet it’s okay to question why people don’t pursue other harmful things simply because they happen to also be legal?

It’s odd to look at some of the things that we consider normal behavior and see how we ignore the side effects they do have and ones they could potentially have.  I’m not the only one guilty of judging someone for not drinking at a bar and the people I work with aren’t the only ones giving attitude to non-smokers.  Maybe there is something deep down in all of us that causes us to strive to be part of the group and questions those not like us because of this inner urge for uniformity.  I’ve bonded with strangers over a loaned lighter or cigarette and I’ve befriended coworkers simply because we were able to take smoke breaks together.  It’s such an easy thing to have in common and it saves you from the judgment of people who don’t share in your habit.

Those people who question the habits of others, or lack thereof, are possibly doing nothing more than projecting their own hangups and feelings onto that other person.  There may be some resentment towards me from the people who don’t understand why I don’t smoke because they don’t understand how or why I quit and walked away from cigarettes and maybe they wish they could.  Maybe they just think I’m stuck up.  Perhaps I feel guilty about drinking that extra drink at the bar and that’s why I silently judge the guy sipping nothing stronger than a diet coke.  Whatever the problem is, it’s not the fault of the person being interrogated or shunned and more of us, including me, need to learn and remember that fact.

The Jamies Are Cursed

Do you remember the scene in Scream 2 where Jada Pinkett Smith’s character forgets to use her inside voice while in the movie theater?  Even better, what about the scene in Scary Movie 2 where Regina Hall’s character takes it to a whole other level with her loud obnoxious behavior and ends up being stabbed by just about everyone in the audience in order to get her to shut her trap.  It’s funny because it takes the typical annoying moviegoer and exaggerates the bad behavior to the point where it’s just over the top.

My husband and I have awful luck with movies, but never would I have expected to have an experience as awful as what we had Friday evening.  Along with two friends who will probably never see a movie with us again, the husband and I went to Houlihan’s for dinner and drinks before walking down to AMC to catch Paranormal Activity 3.  I was beyond excited about this movie, especially after seeing the preview that stated the last 15 minutes would mess me up for life.  The show was sold out so obviously we expected a bit of noise, but we’ve been to sold out shows before and it honestly hasn’t been too bad.  During the previews there was quite a bit of talking, but it quieted down once the movie started.  Oh wait, no it didn’t.  It got worse.  It got so bad that at one point I had my stuff in hand and was ready to walk right out of the theater, someone I’ve only done once before because I just couldn’t sit through Deuce Bigalo.

The talking went on almost nonstop; people making comments and swearing and acting as though they were watching this movie in the comfort of their living room.  This isn’t a loud action movie where some chatter is barely noticed, this is a horror flick with the majority of its scenes at a low volume.  It’s hard to be afraid of a loud bang when the audience is adding their own soundtrack of “awww shit girl, did you see that?!?”  Even more bothersome was the laughter.  I get that it’s funny sometimes when something silly makes you jump, but it’s unacceptable to carry on as if you’ve just discovered laughter.  It comes as no surprise that there were cell phones out; two ushers came in eventually after someone exited the theater to complain and told half a dozen moviegoers to put their phones away, but people who don’t care about keeping the volume down certainly don’t care if their phone is distracting you.  There were also a great number of people coming in and out of the theater throughout the whole movie.  Other than the movie I walked out of, there has never been a time where I’ve gotten up in the middle of a movie for anything; a bathroom trip can wait and I don’t need a refill on soda or popcorn bad enough to miss a scene.  Overall, the atmosphere of the theater felt more like a really dark keg party than it did an enjoyable fright fest.

All four of us received movie vouchers for a free show sometime in the next year, but in my opinion it doesn’t make up for it.  I can’t have a do-over on watching a movie for the first time and I have no doubt that when we buy Paranormal Activity 3 on DVD, we’ll see and hear a lot of things that will be totally new to us as I’m sure we missed quite a bit due to the noise and movement in the theater.  I told my husband on the drive home that they should do more to shut people up and keep them from acting like morons.  Flashed on the screen for a few moments before a movie is a little warning about cell phones and talking, a reminder to keep it down and behave.  No one listens to it.  The two ushers coming into the theater did result in a drop in volume, but it was brief because the audience realized that these people weren’t going to do anything but whisper to a few people to put their phones away.  The audience acted the way they did because they’re low-class and allowed to act that way.  It’s easier to give out vouchers when people get upset than it is to control a bunch of idiots.  There is no fear of being thrown out of a theater.  There isn’t any risk of getting in trouble.  Acting like an ass is perfectly fine because no one does a thing to stop it.

My husband said that the ushers really did everything they could do and they couldn’t take on a mob of morons themselves without the risk of physical harm or even more noise and disruption.  But come on, AMC, the little theater in our town has a cop there every single night, their car parked right outside the exit doors as they stand cross-armed in the middle of the theater.  If they can swing it, why can’t you?  Some kind of security there would be a great deterrent to people who think they can act like an ass without consequence.  I guarantee that if a cop came into the theater that night and picked one idiot out of the many to escort from the theater, it would have put the fear in the rest of the idiots and they would have toned it down.  Actions speak volumes; a warning on the screen prior to the movie means nothing if you can’t back it up.

I’m not going to argue my husband’s point that there was nothing they could do because I already talked his ear off about it on the drive home that night and it’s going to have to be one of those agree to disagree things with he and I.  He was right though that in our case on Friday, there wasn’t anything more they could have done.  I would just like that to change.  I’d be all for paying a couple of dollars extra to see a movie where the audience is 21 and over and there is a stipulation that in this particular showing, you must shut the hell up, keep your phone away and keep your ass in your seat.  I would rock my Skull Candy ear buds in every movie if there was a plug in the armrest that would broadcast the movie sound right into my ears, effectively reducing the noise around me.  I’d happily drop $50 to watch a movie at home on the same night it hits theaters; we usually spend close to that at AMC with tickets ($20) and snacks ($20  -$25) and you really can’t beat the comfort of our couch and our HD flatscreen.  I’m just not willing to sit back and accept the fact that people will talk and text and laugh and disrupt the audience and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

I’m not certain when it became acceptable to be rude and act like an ass, but I’ve noticed that as the years go by, people’s behavior becomes more and more horrendous and unpleasant.  Finding someone with manners has become a shock to me; I’m always amazed when the chick at the drive-thru says “you’re welcome” or someone at the grocery store says “excuse me” instead of wordlessly pushing past me.  I appreciate when people compliment my son’s manners, but in all honesty he’s not doing anything above and beyond, he’s just simply being polite.  Unfortunately, society has been flooded with an abundance of bad behavior that makes the people who know how to act look like the odd ones out.  Imagine a non-smoking concert that has numerous concert goers that smoke.  It only takes one person to break the rules and light up before a person or two around him does the same.  More people see it and even though it’s wrong, they do it because other people are so they won’t be alone.  Pretty soon every smoker in there is lighting up, even though it’s not allowed, and all the non-smokers who expected clean air have to suffer.  The same thing happens with bad behavior; if it’s not stopped it just spreads until every low-class person around is doing it.

My husband and I won’t be returning to AMC for quite some time; I have zero excitement about using our vouchers for a free movie and I’m glad we have a year to use them because I have no desire to go back to that place.  I’m happy sticking with our little theater in town; it doesn’t have the do-it-yourself popcorn but it also doesn’t have people who make Scary Movie’s Regina Hall look tame by comparison.  It’s just pathetic that I have to avoid a theater that I enjoy because I’m outnumbered by people who shouldn’t be allowed in public without a muzzle and shock collar.

Drink, Drank, Drunk!

Last night, my husband and I indulged our new obsession and squeezed two episodes of 30 Days into our evening before giving up and surrendering to sleep.  The description of one episode mentioned a mother who decided to binge drink in order to prove a point to her daughter.  I can’t read something like that and decide to watch something else!  Not surprisingly [SPOILER] the mother’s efforts were wasted on her 19-year-old daughter; she held on to that “I know everything and alcohol doesn’t hurt me like it hurts other people” attitude.  This college student was determined to continue drinking heavily because it was fun and she believed she could handle it.  Thankfully, the mother’s youngest son benefited from the experience and seemed to be generally turned off to alcohol and its effects when abused. [END SPOILER]

I’m not against drinking or getting drunk and acting like an idiot.  That being said, I’m not in support of people who drink and can’t handle their alcohol.  This applies to those who get violently ill, who drive while heavily intoxicated, who ruin the fun for everyone around them, who have attitude problems, and who use and/or harm others.  The young female on 30 Days [SPOILER] claimed to black out frequently, but would also claim to be able to handle her booze in the same sentence.  She was cocky about her drinking and terribly rude to her mother, who was putting her health at risk in a last-ditch attempt to help her daughter out. [END SPOILER]  I drank in college and even though it’s illegal when you’re underage, I don’t necessarily thing it’s wrong.  It’s part of college life and the students are adults who are old enough to make decisions for themselves, even though the law states they need a couple more years.  The drinking age in most countries is 18, and with the US being more uptight than other countries about almost everything, I’m more inclined to go with the views of a great deal of the rest of the world and think that 18 is old enough.  That being said, I do think there are certain things college students should be doing if they are going to act as adults and indulge in alcohol.

1.  Let go of the belief that you know everything.  Us old people have been there, done it, and have the battle scars to prove it.  Sometimes your parents aren’t idiots and do actually know what they’re talking about.  At the very least, don’t be a smart ass and blow them off when they’re trying to help.  They took the time to raise you, the least you can do is take the time to hear them out.

2.  Don’t forget where you are.  You’re in college.  It’s a place to learn above all else.  If you only desire to party, save your parents some cash on tuition and drop out, get a job at a bar or something.  If you can’t balance your studies with your drinking, you have to give one up.  I failed U.S. History the first time around because it was at 8am and I generally didn’t go to bed until 3am or later.  If I had to do it all over again, I definitely wouldn’t have picked an early morning class.

3.  Always have a plan to get home.  The parties I went to in college were either within walking distance of my dorm and I made sure I went with a sober friend or was the sober friend.  If you’re drinking and you’re underage, you CAN NOT DRIVE.  One sip of beer is legally too much and you don’t want that on your record; you need a designated driver.  If you’re walking back, it helps to have the sober friend as a designated walker to ensure you get back home safely and without climbing a tree or knocking on random doors thinking you’re home, behaviors that can out you as a drunk minor and get you in trouble on campus.

4.  Drink responsibly.  Yeah, I know, seems silly to tell minors to drink responsibly.  But if you’re in college, you’re an adult (unless you’re one of those genius kids who graduates high school at 12).  Don’t starve yourself before drinking so you can get drunk faster; eat a good meal before going out and don’t turn down a slice of pizza or other fun foods while drinking.  Get a bottle of water or two and alternate good old H2O and your drink of choice; it’ll keep you hydrated and hopefully keep hangovers at bay.  Don’t try to keep up with other people; we all have different tolerances and it’s better to have your boy call you a pussy than it is to be lying on the pavement in a puddle of puke.  Do not operate heavy machinery or do anything else that the little voice in the back of your head tells you is a bad idea while intoxicated.  Don’t pass out; people are dicks to the guy who passes out and people have cameras on their phones for instant upload of your shame to the internet.

5.  Don’t expect mom and dad to approve of your activities.  If they’re paying for your education, give them their money’s worth.  Don’t expect them to fund your extracurricular activities as well as your education.  If  you don’t have the cash to go drinking, you either don’t drink or you get a job.  You shouldn’t be shocked if your parents are upset with you for doing beer bongs.  They SHOULD be upset; you’re too young and you’re supposed to be learning useful things, and NOT the best way to do a keg stand.

6.  You are NOT Superman or Wonder Woman.  My husband has never had a hangover (jerk) but that doesn’t mean he has the free reign to drink whatever he wants without consequence.  Just because you’ve never tripped down a flight of stairs after a 6 pack doesn’t mean it’ll never happen to you.  With alcohol comes stupid behavior and shit happens to the best of us.  If you have the cocky attitude and act like you can take shots all night and be fine, you better believe it’ll come back to bite you in the ass eventually, and everyone who you aggravated with your “I’m untouchable” attitude will be there laughing at your expense.

7.  Learn the benefit of being the sober friend.  I think I had a psychic ability in college that allowed me to sense when NOT to drink; it saved me from MUIs (minor under the influence) and allowed me to drive drunk friends back to their dorms, saving them from consequence.  It also allowed me to have a damn good time laughing at my drunk college buddies.  The Hangover movies are hilarious because drunk people do dumb things and it’s funny to watch and even funnier sometimes watching them try to piece it all together the next day.  Try it out once in a while.

8.  Remember, IT IS STILL ILLEGAL!  A loud party can get the cops called and you busted.  Sneaking drinks at a concert or bar can get you in trouble as well.  The cops won’t buy my argument that you’re an adult because you’re not at the legal drinking age and that’s all they care about.  If you’re willing to take the risk, be willing to deal with the legal ramifications as well.  As lucky as you think you are, you are not immune to the cranky cop who’s fed up with drunk frat boys and you might be the person he decides to take his anger out on.  A few drinks isn’t worth a night or two in jail.

Alcohol is awesome but it can’t become your crutch when partying; you have to learn to have fun without it and you have to be willing to take a step back if you’re frequently blacking out and waking up in strange places with odd people.  What’s the point of having a fun night if you can’t ever remember what you did?  I’m not telling any of the under-21 crowd that they shouldn’t drink because I did enough of it before I legally could, but you’ve got to be smart about it and you’ve got to have respect for your parents.  I’d be devastated if my son came home describing the numerous jello shots that caused him to black out and wake up in a bathtub.  No parent wants to hear that crap about their child unless they utterly fail at parenting.  If they’re telling you to slow down on the alcohol, it’s not because they’re trying to kill your good time, it’s because they’re trying to save your dignity and your liver.  It’s coming from a place of love.

I’m not getting preachy here or advocating a life of sobriety; this chick plans on having a bottle of wine to herself one night this weekend.  My bottom line here is simply to use your brain for more than a beer-absorbing sponge.  Don’t become the sloppy chick who alternates between weepy and slutty.  Don’t turn into the guy who projectile vomits like clockwork after the 8th shot of whiskey.  If every night is spent using a toilet seat as a pillow, maybe you need to rethink your liquid diet a bit.  Drink, get drunk, and be merry as all hell, just don’t let your drunken behavior define who you are and control your life.  Now….. who wants a shot of Crown?

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