Bridget took us out to celebrate Lillie’s seventh birthday. We were a little belated in this, as the big day was last month. But Lillie didn’t mind. It just meant her birthday wasn’t over yet.
Per our custom, Lillie got to choose the restaurant. She opted for Patsy’s, where the pizzas are covered in fresh basil and cooked in wood-burning ovens. She can also order–if not readily pronounce—what she considers her “favorite pasta I ever ate in my whole life,” paparadella alla tuscana.
As we passed through a sidewalk art fair, Collie laughed at a painting of Yoda as the Mona Lisa, entitled Yoda Lisa. Bridget loved it too, and bought a magnet with a reproduction of the painting to give to Collie.
We also went bowling at Bowlmor, which, I realized, was exactly what we did for Lillie's sixth birthday. The thing I most remember about that afternoon is my ex wife debating my exact height. My doctor and I agree with the height given on my driver’s license. Lucy is certain I am one inch shorter.
I am certain it’s a pointless thing to debate. Bring the measuring tape or drop it.
Bowling is among our favorite family outings. You can make as much noise as you like, you get to knock things over, and the grown-ups can drink.
At Bowlmor, you get the added attraction of waitresses in short skirts and fishnets. They call it “retro,” I call it “hotcha.” Puts a little extra wood in the pin, ifyuhknowwhutuhmean.
We always play with bumpers on the lanes, which, I have to admit, has tremendously improved my score. The kids will have to make adjustments as they mature as bowlers. For now, they use the bumpers like flippers in pinball.
Collie broke one hundred. Lillie achieved her two best scores, and even beat her brother Jason in one set. He was not in top form, as he was still hung over from a sleepover that apparently included very little sleep.
Afterward, we had s’mores at Cosi and made an excursion to Forbidden Planet, where I most certainly did not flirt with the ethereal blonde waif who checked my bags. We were just talking, that’s all.
Bridget would have teased me had she noticed, but you put that geek in a comic store and her blinkers go up. I could’ve balled the girl on the counter without Bridget looking up from the new releases.
Instead, I let the girl ponder her awakening interest in FILFs and busied myself with reading American Virgin.
Loaded with comics and action figures—it’s fun for me to watch Bridget struggle with the word “no” when the children ask for things, as it morphs faster than a speeding bullet into “maybe,” then “just one,” before settling into “yes, okay, get both”—the kids were worn out and ready to head home. Bridget went to retrieve her car from a garage. Wanting the children away from the garage entrance, I shepherded them down the sidewalk.
It was a lovely summer afternoon, and the sidewalks were full of Villagers, New York University students and protesters gearing up for the arrival of President Bush, in town to commemorate the anniversary of nine eleven.
I was watching people go by when I realized that the kids had found their own show.
Two young women braced against a corner, their bodies entwined and their tongues deep in one another’s throats.
Now, this presented a sticky wicket.
I hadn’t intended for the kids to see a live sex show, but here it was, and those girls were working for tips. The hands of the woman with the short cropped hair and tattoos were devouring the tanned skin of the long-haired brunette.
They were really going to town, and much too far gone on their way to notice three gawking children.
Lillie looked at me and giggled. Jason shrugged and rolled his eyes.
Collie stared straight at the women.
I didn’t want to make too big a deal of this by ushering the children away. But I did wish Bridget would hurry up with the car.
In the fullness of time, she drove up. The kids climbed into the car and began to buckle up.
“Bridget, there are two lesbians over there, if you want to see them,” Collie said, snapping his seatbelt into place.
“Wha . . . well, Collie!” Bridget sputtered, her ears not attuned to the sound of the word “lesbian” in the voice of a ten-year-old boy.
“Your gaydar is fully operational, I see,” I said to my son.
“It’s obvious, Dad,” he replied. “I mean, they were kissing.” He looked back to the women as we drove by. “Man, lesbians!”
I’m sure Bridget was glad to get past the public display of Sapphic affections. As she drove out of the Village, she put the lesbians out of mind and focused on traffic.
We passed a billboard showing a man wearing no shirt.
“Look, Dad,” Lillie pointed. “He’s got a six pack.”
Bridget guffawed. “Who are you people?” she laughed.