Sunday, April 18, 2010

About Last Night

Funny how Date Night can go off the rails.

Last night was indeed DN, following an enjoyable afternoon stalking our favourite artists on the London Artists' Studio Tour. We had tickets to see Orchestra London play Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, featuring our brilliant concertmaster Joseph Lanza. (Big shout-out to Joe, who was fabulous as always. We are blessed with a talented orchestra indeed.)

About 2 minutes into the music, the phone goes off. Yes, we are philistines who leave the phone on -- albeit on silent -- during concerts and the like. Sue us, we have young children, and one of said babes was in the woods far away and had complained of an iffy stomach when we'd dropped him off on Friday night. Hence, my spouse left the auditorium and took the call.

Thank goodness Doug made it back in time to hear the sublime last half of the concerto. (Did I mention Joe Lanza is godly?) After furious arguments back and forth during intermission, we bailed on the concert, raced home, relieved the startled babysitter (and her very disappointed charge) and then I took off for the hour-long drive to the lakeside camp to retrieve my ailing child. Fortified by a double-shot of Starbucks, I made it in record time, pulling off the highway into the camp's driveway less than an hour after I left town.

Greeted by a chained gate and the pitch-black woods beyond it, I swore colourfully in a parentally inappropriate fashion, and considered my options. Option 1) Call the adults with whom my son was camping in 1-degree Celsius weather. Lucky me, no cellphone reception. Option 2) Call out futilely into the dark woods in the hopes of attracting the ranger's attention. Considering that my family claims not to hear my voice when I call them from upstairs in our admittedly small house, this option's chances of success were slim indeed. Option 3) Walk back along the fence line out to the highway, around the end of the fence and in to camp that way. Tried it, but lo and behold there is an almost invisible wire fence that runs along the highway perimeter of the property. Sigh.

There was no hope for it. A fence stood between this mama tiger and her sick cub, so climb it I would. Now, two X-chromosomes is all I have in common with Lara Croft, so there was no graceful run-vault-land happening this dark night. It was more like Homer Simpson trying to scale Everest with the promise of a donut at the summit.

The first human I encountered mutely pointed the way through the dark to the ranger's cabin. Imagine my surprise when the ranger sheepishly explained that the heavy chain and padlock were mostly for show, but rarely employed. I could have unhooked the gate and driven through. Lara Croft would have shot him merely for the annoyance and humiliation factor, but I did not.

By this point I'd lost all the time I'd gained from my caffeine-fueled Andretti impression, and it was just after 11PM when I finally got to the site. The cub was a sorry looking camper with saturated boots and a wicked head cold, and looked pathetically happy to be picked up by the scruff of his neck and carried back to the family den. He was emitting adenoidal snuffling noises before we'd reached the first small town on the route home, and slept through even AC/DC on the stereo.

Date Night ended with a collapse into bed at 12:45AM beside my sleepy mate, content that all the Hyphenators were where they should be. It was a decidedly unromantic but satisfying end to a mid-life evening.

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