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Happy that it was Friday and we had the weekend ahead, my husband and I decided to go to dinner and see He’s Just Not That Into You. We talked about calling a few people then decided to keep it simple, call it a date and get on with our evening. We went to a small pub which is definitely understated by first impressions. They make both great hamburgers and salads, but we didn’t bother with salads. It was Friday night after all. They have a beer selection that makes War and Peace look like a magazine. The bar was filling up, we noticed, with a lot of college age and 30-somethings, most of who were trying the bar’s selection. But despite our declaration of “Friday date night,” we chose coffee. I was not disappointed in our selection, even though the beer was tempting. It was amazing coffee. The first I’ve tasted since moving south that rivals my love of Douwe Egbert (a Dutch coffee). I’ve always been able to tell when a restaurant served DE by it’s distinct flavor. Yet Counter Culture has an equally delightful and distinctive taste. Better yet, Counter Culture is fair trade, sustainably-raised coffee which is roasted in nearby Durham. I think I’m hooked!

On to the movies. The timing worked out for the early show so we walked to the movie theater and were surprised by the long ticket line. We slowly moved our way toward the booth and just when we were about three people away, a group of college age girls walked up to their friend just ahead of us, exchanged hugs in every possible paired combination and started talking rapid fire to each other. They smoothly waltzed into line and up to the booth, putting us seven away. I looked at Doug who stood stoically. I looked at the woman directly in front of us who also seemed nonplussed. Breathing deeply, I watched them buy tickets.

“We need to hurry,” one said.

“Oh, they’ll be seats,” replied her friend.

“I know but I don’t know if there’ll be four together. But I guess if there’s not we can sit separately and talk after the show.”

Her friend looked a little shaken by that suggestion. “We’ll plead.” She said. “We’ll say, ‘We HAVE to see this show. Please move over. You don’t understand, we’re single! This is our Valentines gift to ourselves. We MUST have four seats together.”

I should have had a clue at that point who the audience would be, but mostly I was thinking, “Just buy your ticket you little line-cutting drama queen. Never mind the responsible adults back here waiting in line.”

Inside, the theater was pretty full. We found two seats at the very top outside. The young woman next to me made a point that our sitting in those seat still left her with the four seats she needed for her yet absent friends. She was huddling with the women in the row ahead of her. Finally the movie started. I won’t ruin it here for those of you still wanting to see it. It was a pretty good movie, even if the previews did ruin some of the better lines. But I spent a lot of the movie taking in the audience’s reaction. They were like clones. Predictably and in unison, they laughed when one character said, “Listen…if he isn’t calling you, he just doesn’t like you,” as if they were simultaneously recalling their own stories. The instant it was clear that one male character was cheating on his wife, the entire audience groaned loudly. When another did something extremely romantic near the end of the movie, the “aawww” was nearly deafening and I swear it got a little humid in there from the tears. The instant the movie ended, we noticed cell phones flipping open like the proverbial lighters at a live concert. Ahhh…life in a college town.

As the lights came up it was confirmed. We were not among peers. I wondered why all the 20-somethings wouldn’t choose the later show. Then I realized that probably they planned their movie time so they could go to the bars and clubs later. Well, good for them. I walked home under the star-lit night without envy. After all, I never have to wonder whether “he’s just not that into me.”

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