Dateline: Friday July 27, Cinemark Theatres complex. I’d been in Tacoma since Tuesday, visiting daughter Belle, helping her out after she’d had foot surgery the previous week, and I was feeling lousy. The cold/fever virus which was plaguing MH apparently hitchhiked with me, and by Friday morning I felt like a cheap retread tire left on the side of a highway. But I had promised Belle a movie of her choice, in a theatre with Comfy Chairs –
No not that kind, the “Luxury Loungers” – those roomy cinema seats with reclining backs and elevating footrests– perfect for Belle’s recovering-from-surgery, boot-encased foot.
After our movie was over,  Belle and I were among the last to leave our theatre, what with her navigating on crutches. Thus, we were privy to the poignant sight of another couple exiting the theatre across the hall, where Dunkirk was playing. A petite elderly woman, clutching the arm of an older-than-me-but-much-younger-than-her man, was trying but failing to stifle her emotions. She was overcome by wracking sobs. Movie patrons from both theatres quickly gave her and the man space and privacy, the patrons flashing looks of sympathy as they passed the couple by.
As Belle and I headed for the restrooms, I rummaged through my purse to retrieve a packet of travel-sized tissues. “Please, wait here for me,” I said to Belle. “I have to go back.”
I found the woman and her companion, whom I took to be her son, standing next to the theatre hall wall. The woman was leaning against the wall for support and the man had his hand on her shoulder.
“Excuse me; may I?” I extended the packet of tissues toward her. She accepted them with a look of gratitude, and I indicated the theatre from whence she’d come.
“You just saw ‘Dunkirk?’ “
She reached out and clutched my forearm, her grip surprising me with its strength. “I didn’t know it would affect me like this,” she gasped.
I nodded, smiled, and said softly, “You’re British?” It wasn’t really a question I was posing; I was confirming what I suspected.
Her voice quavering, she replied that yes, she had lived in London as a girl – lived through the bombings, through it all.
She began to talk about the movie, and the memories it had brought back.
“It is such a powerful story,” I said, “and sadly, one that few Americans seem to know about. But, maybe now that will change.”
She told me that as much as she was surprised by how much she was reliving those times, her tears were also tears of joy, to see the “rows of teenagers” sitting in the theatre. She was pleased to see young people watching such a movie; perhaps, she said, they would learn something new about the times back then, and have something different to aspire to, “…especially in this world, where things, where leaders, are so…” she wavered, “so mean, and nasty, and cruel…”
“And you are remembering bravery, and a time of service and honor,” I offered. She nodded, dabbing at her eyes with the tissues. I told her to please keep the tissue packet, and thanked her for sharing her memories with me.
Her son had remained silent, gazing down at his mother with an expression of utmost love and tenderness, while she spoke. He patted her arm and thanked me for “coming back.” I told him that I had to…and then it was my time to struggle with how to put my feelings into words:
…because we’re all human, going through this world together.
And as I was returning to where I’d left Belle I realized I was grateful that neither the woman nor her son had asked me what movie I’d just seen. I still don’t know how I would have answered, had they done so. Would I have tried to deflect from the fact that while they were being blown away by the heart-rending reality of Dunkirk, I was squirming through the raunchy, nonstop booty/fuck-fest joke-filled Girls Trip?
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Department Of There’s A New Community In Town, And They’re Nuts
“Support for this podcast…comes from Almond Board of California. Did you know that the almond community generates more than one hundred thousand jobs in ….”
Not only did I not know about the job generation, I had no idea there was an almond community…in California or anywhere else. Almonds grow on trees, so I figured there are almond orchards, and therefore a certain critical mass of almond growers, pickers, and packers and shippers…. But the community thing has thrown me. I just can’t picture it.
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Department Of You Had Me Until The WTF?!?! Part
Got a new cookbook, and was enjoying perusing the recipes until I read the author’s  comments on a chard-red bean-peanut stew:
“This is one of my favourite foods to eat on a cold, autumn day…”
Okay; stop, right there. Add a period after day and you’re fine. But noooooooooooo, she had to insert a comma, and….
“This is one of my favourite foods to eat on a cold, autumn day, while wearing a cosy, knitted jumper.”
Apparently, this is Yet Another Thing About Which I Am Both Unaware And Unimpressed ® . Enhance your appreciation of your meal – perhaps even increase its nutrient density – by wearing the right outfit?
Also – a knitted jumper? A garment which is flattering to Cabbage patch dolls no one ever? I feel like putting on my Mom Voice ® and advising the author, Honey, you may feel cozy cosy, sitting at the kitchen table dressed in your knitted jumper but you look like an ottoman. There, there now, dry your eyes and have some yummy chard stew.
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Department Of You’ve Got To Be Fucking Kidding
When I read the letter to the Dear Abby column, I thought I must be hallucinating. It’s the fever (from the previously mentioned virus) I reassured myself. Then the next day, when the fever had abated, I saw the same letter, in the same DA column, in another newspaper. It was from a husband seeking advice from DA. Husband and dad-to-be was concerned about being able to afford to give his pregnant wife a “push gift.” Which (until I read further ) I had no idea what it was, or that it was even a thing.
Concerned Dad-to-be made no attempt to confront or reject this supposed tradition, but just meekly wondered if it was indeed a thing, and if so, how can he do it when he and his wife are tapped out financially?
Now. I have a husband. I have been a pregnant wife. I have heard of many strange customs (most of them religion-related or mandated) related to the social milestones of marriage and childbirth, ranging from the odd (Bundling or Tarrying) to the shocking (Indian Baby-Tossing  ) to the stupid and potentially dangerous (The Tidong Bathroom Ban  ). But I’d never heard of this push gift, which for many reasons strikes me as one of the more ultimately distasteful “traditions.”
I received no push gift after the birth of son K, nor three years later, when I Tarzan-yelled daughter Belle into this world.
It is fortunate that no wretched fool had gotten a hold of MH and convinced him that such a thing was necessary. If I had been given some bauble presented as a push gift it is highly likely I would have told MH where to push it.
And what about father and labor partner extraordinaire MH, who never left my side during my 13 hour hospital labor with our first child, even though, as MH confessed after the delivery, he really, really, really had to pee?  Should I have gotten him a holding-it-in gift?
And the name – push gift?
Thank you honey, for your sacrifice in bringing our child into the world and thereby ruining your anatomy. I know your vagina and pelvic floor continence will never be the same again – here’s a charm bracelet.
And does this “tradition” not apply to women who are unable or do not have to push out their babies– i.e., those who undergo C-sections? Or do they get a runner-up trinket?
* * *
May we remember we go through life together with our fellow humans;
May you tell the well-meaning but clueless humans where to push their push gifts;
May you remember that friends don’t let friends wear knitted jumpers;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Praaaaaaaaaaaise de lawd when it was indeed over. It made me feel so uncomfortable…I’ll just say this: is a movie still pandering to stereotypes if a member of the group being stereotyped freely participates in it? I can’t imagine a white production team getting away with Girls Trip.
 A show with the inspiring mission “to gather all of the world’s knowledge,” or, as host Poundstone puts it, “to get less stupid, one topic at a time.”
 Brit, as you may notice re the spelling of certain words.
 A push gift is a present, often but not always an expensive item of jewelry, given by the husband to the wife on the occasion of her giving birth to their child.
 A centuries-old ritual in certain Indian towns in the first week of December, wherein babies (from both Hindu and Muslim families – this is interfaith idiocy) are tossed from a temple tower onto a cloth, held by men standing below the tower, and then the babies are passed to their mother. ..
 And there was a bathroom, right in the room where I labored. I told him that was so sweet – his staying by my side – but frankly, had our positions been reversed, I would have left for a minute to pee and he could have done so (like during one of the man times when my eyes were squinted shut and I was yelling invectives) without my noticing.