Monday, June 14, 2010

The Trouble With Doing Stuff

I'm going to take a break from my usual, more or less positive outlook on life to discuss a major roadblock I frequently encounter in my quest to experience all this world has to offer. You see, it would appear that LEAVING MY HOUSE IS A FREAKING NIGHTMARE AND STAYING IN MY HOUSE IS AWESOME.

I like being a homebody. Very much. And I'm married to a homebody, thereby increasing our homebodiness exponentially. Sure, in a perfect world I could be talked out of feeling this way and become one of those freaks who "can't sit still." But the fact of the matter is sitting on my couch rules, as does ordering food and having it delivered to my house, then eating it on my couch, and then sitting on my couch some more. There. I said it.

However, I realize that other people find this behavior unacceptable, if a little gross, so I really do put in a valiant effort to be the sort of individual who takes friends up on party invitations and the like. And still, more often than not, no matter what I'm doing, there comes a certain point in the day's or night's activity when it occurs to me that it would be just as remarkably wonderful to be at home, not doing said activity. Case in point: a trip to Vegas during which Devin and I were back at our hotel room by 11:30 each night, having tacitly reached an agreement that the casino floor was too loud and involved too much standing.

The bottom line is I've tried to Do Stuff. I even made a blog about it. See? I want to be like you people, with your sun-kissed cheeks and your tales to tell your children. Unfortunately, it's ill-fated events like Saturday's that force me to wonder if perhaps I'm wasting my time.

Allow me to elaborate. It all began with a visit to a friend's house to watch the US vs England World Cup match. Have I told you guys how I'm a huge soccer fan? No, just kidding. I could care less, but I DO love an excuse to get together and, if forced to leave my house, a friend's house is my favorite place to be. If not my couch, then yours. It seems like a perfectly fair policy.

So the game ended after what seemed like 20 minutes, and we proceeded to sip on beers and Pimm's until the late afternoon. At this point, I noticed Devin frequently checking the clock on his cellphone and took note that we would need to get going for our second set of plans for the day. We were due to meet up with some other friends to watch Beetlejuice at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. That sounds very goth, but it's actually very hip. For those of you nonlocal readers, the cemetery screenings are a summer tradition in which modern classics are projected onto the side of a building, while people gather on the lawn with picnics. I'd gone last summer to see Dazed and Confused, and it was a lot of fun to sit amongst the crowd, sipping red wine, surrounded by ornate graves of old Hollywood movie stars I've never heard of.

Here's what isn't fun about it: the fact that everyone else wants to be there too. Two huge lines form hours before the gates open. One is a line of people that winds around and down several blocks. The other is a line of cars. Last time I think we lucked out in our timing, and may have inadvertently slipped into the cheaters car line of people cutting the regular line and we wound up getting in. Some of our friends were not so lucky, and waited in the people line for 2 hours only to be told that there was no more available seating.

Now, back to Saturday afternoon. Devin is saying we need to make our move and soon. And as keen as I am on sitting in the cool night air and watching a movie I already know I like, I was not so hot on the idea of driving to the store for snacks, then across town, and then fighting thousands of good citizens for a measly plot of lawn. Daydrinking had taken its toll and I sort of just wanted to, well, be home.

But the truth was we'd already made these plans. And I didn't want to be the sort of last minute canceling flakes that I detest, so we got off our butts and started hurrying to get there. As a bonus, we recruited our drunk hosts to come along.

When we arrived on the street outside the cemetery, we got in the car line just as we had last time. It didn't seem to be that long, and we still had plenty of time. Twenty minutes later, we'd eeked our way up to the gates, where a security person told us that, oh by the way, as of today, you can't enter from this direction. We'd need to drive ahead and get in the line around the block. Marvelous.

So ahead we went, and joined the more lengthy, proper car line. Having been told that 400 cars would be allowed in to park, and doing some really really careless counting, we figured we couldn't have been more that 200 cars back. Sure we'd wasted some time, but okay, we could make this happen.

And then we sat there for 2 hours. This was my view.

The cars did not move, even as the gates opened. Craning our necks and looking way up yonder where the car line turned right at the street light, cheating cars coming straight were slipping their way in. Our friends squeezed in the back seat seemed to be of good spirits, but I was growing cranky and headachy and I worried that Devin's shouting at people trying to cut in line would maybe get us all stabbed.

My mind wandered, and I imagined being at home, submerged in a bubble bath, listening to the sounds of Devin practicing guitar in the other room and Seamus's claws clickety clacking across the hard woods in the living room as he looked for the cats.

Then Devin honked the horn in frustration, and suddenly I was jolted back to reality, steeping in car exhaust and staring unapologetically at the ridiculously outfitted hipsters moving along in the people line next to us.

By the time it was dark, and with minutes to go before the movie started, we made it to the entrance. Of course, we should have noticed the cars ahead of us all leaving and speeding off down the road, but we were dizzy with hope that we hadn't wasted our entire evening sitting in a line of cars.

As we pulled up, the same security guy as before leaned into my passenger window and asked -- get this -- "Can I help you?"

I was so dumbfounded by this statement that I couldn't respond, and just sort of pointed toward the entrance. I wish I'd thought to respond with, "Yeah, what are all these people waiting in line for?" or "Can I get directions to the cemetery?" or "Yes, I'm here to pay my respects to my great grandmother."

I mean, really. Sir, let me into the god damn movie. I have to pee and I'm going completely stir crazy in this hatchback. I may punch my husband. Let me in!

Of course, then he reveals that they weren't taking any more cars unless we were "on the list." Did you know you have to be on a list to see a free movie at a cemetery now?

Could he perhaps have sent some other employee down into the car line to let everyone know that, in fact, it was full and save us all a good chunk of our only time here on this planet?

As we pulled away, we called our other friends driving behind us. I felt responsible for misleading them into the wrong line in the first place, perhaps effectively ruining our chances. Though I think it was all a lost cause from the moment we arrived. There was some brief discussion about whether we should regroup and attempt to do something else, but really all I wanted was to be at my favorite place: home.

40 minutes later, we walked in our back door and I felt the same sense of relief that normally follows a particularly horrid travel experience filled with flight delays and turbulence and some ordeal with security. Oh, home. Home sweet home. Where there is water, and Advil, and ramen noodles, and my couch, and a Netflix envelope with season 1, disc 2 of Damages.

I was so exhausted by Saturday's catastrophe that on Sunday I didn't go to the roller derby as I'd planned. I know, this would've made for some good blog fodder, but I'm easily traumatized.

I guess now I just have to figure out how to experience the rest of the world without leaving home. Any ideas? No?



  1. Oh, wow. It's so fortuitous that you posted this because I was there and I heard a lot of people weren't able to get in. I, in fact, will be doing a post about Cinespia shortly as well. Would it be okay to link to this?

  2. Just reading this makes me feel like I'm going stir crazy & feeling claustrophobic.

    And that's why I don't go to events like that...

  3. If I lived in a such a antagonistic, hostile, elitist ,over crowded, foul-aired place , I would stay home alot.

  4. "If I lived in a such a antagonistic, hostile, elitist ,over crowded, foul-aired place , I would stay home alot. "

    Kind of a rude comment for someone to make and not even have the decency to put their name on.

    And by the sounds of it, it's coming from some small minded jackass who has never left whatever ignorant bumpkin corner of the world they are from.

  5. Youch! I wish I could've saved you from this. I've done Cinespia a few times and it's been pretty fun. Thing is, you need to prepare:

    1. Get there early. I think I usually showed up in the neighborhood around 4. There was street parking a couple blocks away from where the line started.

    2. Have a picnic while you wait in line. Bring a blanket, cooler full of wine and tasty snacks.

    That's pretty much it, show up early and have a picnic while you wait in the regular pedestrian line. Lots of people in the line do the same thing, so it's basically a big party. Maybe bring a boombox to liven things up.

  6. 3. Always consult Barry before doing anything.