Home Alone
  Freeday   August 29, 1997




The Usual Suspects

"Freeday" indeed. We are babyless tonight. Dropped the princess off at my mother's this evening, where she'll reign until tomorrow afternoon. Ah, the sweet, sweet taste of freedom.

Having a child changes your life, but I don't mean that in the standard saccharine sweet tones that suggest your life will be fuller than you ever thought possible, filled with magic and discovery and the delighted squeals of bright-eyed progeny. No, what I mean is: It makes you dull. Sure, it's the saccharine stuff too, but becoming boring is definitely a part of it.

I used to be (I think) an interesting guy with an interesting, eventful life. I've worked as a bouncer and fought with knife-wielding punk rockers. I've been a newspaper reporter, covering stories ranging from NASA missions to football games. When I was in construction I built a recording studio for David Gates (no, not Bill's brother -- David's the guy from "Bread"), and during my drinking days I used to race motorcycles through Topanga Canyon at night. I've slept with women I'd just met and never saw again and played trumpet in a R&B band. My life used to be jam-packed with excitement. Now I'm a father. Beth's story is similar, albeit without the testosterone effects.

And what are we doing with this night of babyless freedom? Have we gone back to the heady days of pre-marital life? We have not. We're sitting in my office, home for the night at 10:00 p.m. Beth's words sum it up best: "We're smoking a lot and talking loud." If you're a parent, that's shorthand for "party time."

Our party time consisted of dinner and a movie. First we hit the 50's Cafe, a restaurant in Sherman Oaks that tries to be the soda shop from "Back To The Future." Throwing caution to the winds, we each had a hamburger and I had gravy fries for the first time. Following dinner we continued our madcap ways by jetting down the street to see "She's So Lovely," the Sean Penn movie that opened today -- and should, by all rights, close tomorrow.

Let's go off on a short movie tangent... SSL was really bad. I mean really. While she did a hell of an acting job, Robin Wright(-Penn), who was so lovely in "The Princess Bride," definitely isn't here. Not that it matters, but I wasn't expecting a haggard half-wit drunkard/drug addict as the "Lovely" title character. And she was the most likeable character in there. Virtually every character in this movie was a moronic dirtbag you couldn't care less about. In one scene, two of them are fighting over a gun while the others watch and you find yourself hoping the gun will go off and hit someone. Anyone. I haven't rooted that hard for random violence since Juliette Lewis showed her mongrel face in "Kalifornia." Fortunately, she did die in that one, but it wasn't enough to save that picture. None of these mooks died in this one, which left it totally beyond redemption. All in all, it was bad. Thank God I slept through half of it. End tangent.

So now we're babyless and home for the night long before midnight. No youthful abandon here, we're content just to talk loud and smoke a lot. Tomorrow brings the delightful prospect of sleeping until we wake up, rather than until Zoe does -- which is generally at an ungodly hour. I get to skip Gymboree, Beth gets to drink coffee and read the paper in peace. We might even -- gasp! -- have spontaneous sex instead of waiting for Zoe to take a nap. Yes, we are parents and we are dull, dull, dull.

We miss Zoe already.

Just in case you're wondering why "Freeday" instead of Friday, it's something I copped from Harlan Ellison's story "Shatterday." The story takes place over the course of a week, with each day's name slightly modified: Someday, Moanday, Duesday, Woundsday, Thornsday, Freeday, Shatterday. I thought it would be kind of cool to use his days. I think I was wrong. But now that I've started, I feel like I should finish out the week before I go back to normal days. But, hey, at least it fit today.




Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins