While hiking recently, my friend Mary told me a story about her parents that was so hilarious that I A) was laughing so hard I had to stop walking B) Felt I had to share with you all.
Mary’s parents are new to drinking in public. Meaning that until recently they viewed drinking as a shameful activity that shouldn’t be done in places where they could be seen by people they know. In the past this caused them travel to neighboring cities to go to beer festivals where they only drank a couple Yuenglings before heading back home. (For those who aren’t familiar, Yuengling is a beer that is so common in North Carolina you can buy it at any gas station. There is no reason to drive more than half a mile to get one and why it is even served at a beer festival is beyond me.) Recently Mary’s parents came out of the drinking closet and decided it would be great fun to enjoy a beer before seeing a movie. So far I’m in total agreement with this plan, except that I only have cocktails after movies, because otherwise I spend half the film getting up for pee breaks. Fact: when I know I’m to the movie theater I try to arrive slightly parched so I can sit and watch, undisturbed by my bladder.
Back to my story – Mary’s parents’ plan for beer before a movie sounds great except for the fact that the town mall with all the restaurants is on one side of a busy street, and the movie theater is on the other side. They refused to go to the restaurants across the street because then they would be drinking and driving (!) afterward. I asked Mary why they couldn’t just walk across the street, and she said it just wasn’t something they do. This goes to the small town mentality that big busy streets are scary places that can only be traveled by car. Also, how drunk are these two really planning on getting before they go to a movie? I mean…I’m pretty sure that most people should be able to drive across the street after one beer.
This was all turning out to be quite a conundrum until Mary’s mother realized that a Chuck-E-Cheese was right next door to the theater. Yes, exactly. They decided they would go to Chuck-E-Cheese for their pre-movie cocktails. At this point I interrupted Mary’ story to ask if Chuck-E-Cheese even served alcohol. “Oh yeah, my mom even called ahead to find out.” Think about that for a second. The whole Chuck-E-Cheese decision was not a crime of passion and opportunity, but a pre-meditated decision.
So, these two wild and crazy parents go to Chuck-E-Cheese to have their adult beverages and get up to the drink counter in front of a long line of parents that you know, actually had children with them, and ask for two beers. And the teenage clerk is like, “Beer?” because apparently even he wasn’t even aware they served alcohol at Chuck-E-Cheese. So then all of these parents who are waiting to get food and drinks for their, you know, CHILDREN, are having to wait while the staff of Chuck-E-Cheese determine that yes, they do serve beer, locate where it’s kept under lock and key, locate the key, unlock it and bring out what I’m sure were two incredibly old Bud lights to serve to Mary’s parents.
And then – Mary’s parents take their beers and enjoy them in the wonderful setting of…Chuck-E-Cheese… which if you’ve never been, pretty much consists of kids running around screaming and playing loud video games so they win tickets which they use to buy cheap crappy toys that their parents could just go buy them for a fraction of what they spent in tokens for the games, but that would obviously be less fun. Oh, and all the while the kids are running back and forth from the game to their table where they get loaded up on bad pizza and soda. The parents are doing…I’m not sure what. Now that I think of it I’m not sure why they don’t serve more alcohol there.
I guess that Mary’s parents had a successful night in the end. Although I do find it striking that the same people who used to be embarrassed to drink at all in public now find nothing wrong with going to Chuck-E-Cheese for the sole purpose of ordering beer. Cause you know, two adults getting inebriated in Chuck-E-Cheese voluntarily without a child doesn’t seem the slightest bit strange/weird/creepy at all.