Vintage Eve of Destruction: Cast Away Marriages
Eddie and I went to see the new Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away” last Saturday night for our monthly date. Several things now come to mind about it. We had played charades to that title at Christmas and who but my always-correct sister-in-law knew that the movie was spelled with two words and not one? (My spell checker just asked to correct it to one right now but I chose the “ignore” option.) It was Ed’s choice for our date night and not mine. And, what really bugged me the most was the middle-aged (my age!) couple sitting right next to me that made out for the entire movie. It was over two hours long, two and a half with previews! When I nudged Eddie and signaled over to my right he gagged and swore to me that he never would have chosen the movie if was a “make out” movie.
Anyhoo, if you know the film I was slightly distracted during Tom Hanks’ famous Fed Ex speech, missed where the soccer ball named “Wilson” ended up and was unabashedly turned completely to the right when their slurping noises surpassed those of the giant whale approaching Hanks’ spindly raft!
In the eighties we would have hollered, “Get a room!” when we caught a couple kissing and groping in public. But now, in the new millenium when said couple is twice that age, what do you say? Or even worse, what are you thinking about said couple?
At their age you can assume 1. An affair was taking place last Saturday night, middle row center, at the Edward’s 7PM showing. 2. They were sitting through it a second time while waiting for a table at BJ’S. (Good martinis and appetizers were enjoyed before the show by the Bushman’s.) 3. Our city council had actually voted on the Calgrove/Valley issue, rendering their keys useless, so why rush home. 4. It was too far and cold by then to walk to the homeless shelter, so they were just hanging out.
But in all honesty it was just their age, and near proximity of course, that grabbed my attention. I mean how rare is it to find a middle-aged couple kissing noisily in public? Or kissing quietly for that matter? I took a second glance to see if I recognized this publicity hungry pair. It wasn’t the couples often photographed for The Mighty Signal: not the Hartes, the Flemings or Gillis’. It certainly wasn’t our very own Stacey Powells on one of her rare, especially for that lucky guy, dates. It wasn’t Cameron and Lena Smythe (too young and newlyweded, they got a room!)
Maybe it was a mirage. A reflection of what I could have been doing on a Saturday night if I had made different choices. But between their slurping and the husband I thank my lucky stars for every darn day, it wasn’t something I thought I wanted. Not yet.
Now after much reflection, all of which you’ve suffered through in this column, I have one option to offer. He undoubtedly chose the movie (all men think they have the indelible marital right to do) and she was making the most of the night out. So what if they missed the gargantuan eye-winking whale or the old blood-encrusted Wilson? It’ll be a rental in twelve months.
But did they have to take me to romantic/jealousy/hell with them? Thanks nameless middle-aged couple, for giving me another idea for something to do on a Saturday night out. One I thought had passed me by when I “got a room” eighteen years ago with my husband.
The last time we were at the movies we ran into a couple we knew that happened to be out together celebrating their own divorce. We smiled our hellos, chitchatted through the final credits and shared a relaxing meal afterwards. They made us more comfortable discussing their settlement decisions than the make-out fiends, possibly celebrating their romance, did. Or did it just seem much more normal being around a divorcing couple than spying on a couple that had a good match? What does that say about us? About marriage?
I don’t even want to know what the divorce statistics are in our new millenium! I read all of the paraphernalia I can about what makes marriages work. You know what I think? It’s way too normal to be the divorcing couple than not. From this day forward I promise to inwardly salute any and all middle-aged make-out couples! Because whatever made them do it, it certainly wasn’t a divorce from each other. But the little devil perched on my right shoulder just gave me another evil thought: Maybe it was their divorces, from others, that they were celebrating. Damn it!