I was feeling the pressure. Evi had made tentative plans for us to meet another couple for drinks in Long Beach today, but I nixed that last Friday because I felt my weekend was getting too jammed up. Turned out, my Sunday was too the-opposite-of jammed-up. We had nothing to do. My wife was staring at me.
“You’ve shut down ALL of my ideas,” she said. “Now it’s your turn. Come up with three.”
1. “Let’s go see Independence Day.”
2. “How about that biergarten a couple of blocks over?”
3. “Are you sure about not going to see Independence Day?”
4. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
The biggest problem was we had to rule Manhattan out right off the bat. The Gay Pride parade was today, and any time they have a major parade in the city, traffic is a Category 5 disaster. So, as sort of a Hail Mary pass, I googled “Where to bring a date in Queens”. One of the websites suggested a park.
“Hey Babe, what about Gantry Park?”
“Oh! That sounds great. Let’s bring blankets and pick up some KFC on the way!”
So, we had a plan. Thank God. Oh, and I take full credit.
We actually did get some KFC, had a picnic, and just hung out at the park for hours. The weather was freaking gorgeous; in fact, it got a little chilly after the sun set.
When we finally left, we drove home taking Vernon Blvd to 21st street, which runs parallel to Astoria Park. Turns out, there was a huge carnival or fair (what the hell is the difference?) going on, with rides and everything. We found a parking spot and walked over.
We didn’t want to wait in any of the insanely long lines to go on a ride, nor did we want to eat any carnival food. That really only left one thing: attempt to win a prize.
I hate this. It feels so high schoolish. First off, the games are obviously rigged for you to lose. Secondly, there’s no way a modern woman really cares if her man wins her some crappy cheap stuffed animal, right?
“Win me a prize,” Evi said. “The man is supposed to win his girl a prize.”
There were the usual games. The one where you throw darts at balloons. The one where to try to shoot a basketball through a crooked non-regulation hoop. The one where you throw baseballs at bottles. They all looked sketchy. I decided my best shot was the basketball game, but the line was too long.
Evi got tired of waiting, so she decided to do the dart thing on her own. She was supposed to pop one balloon in three tries. The carnie must have loved her, because he gave her like seven tries until she finally popped one, and he gave her her pick of stuffed animals. She was happy. “His name is Schmoopie,” she said.
So can we go?
“You have to win me something!”
I decided to play the game where you throw a softball-sized ball in a bucket. It always looks super simple, but of course the ball nearly always bounces back out. The deal was, I had three chances, and I had to get two in.
I got the first one in.
“Yes! Good job, Baby!” said Evi.
I got the second one in.
“Wait a minute,” said the shitty carnie. “You’re not allowed to hit the rim. See?” He pointed at a sign that said “Rim shots not allowed”. The ball had seemingly hit the rim and bounced in. “It’s okay, I’ll give you another chance.”
I was a little miffed, but I didn’t really care enough to argue the law with a carnie. I tried again, and of course now I missed.
“What happened there?” Asked Evi, who’d apparently been distracted.
“Don’t worry, I hit the rim before, I get another shot.”
On the third and last try…it bounced out.
“I’m sorry sir,” said the disgusting, ugly, smelly, piece of shit carnie. “Have a nice day.”
I was upset at what happened, but not because I didn’t get some cheap stuffed animal. I was upset because I knew Evi was recording video, and, well, I know my wife.
“You did not hit that rim!” Evi said as we walked away. “Let me see the video.”
This is the difference between my wife and I. If I’m getting screwed at something, I make a value judgement as to whether it’s worth fighting about, and additionally make some sort of estimate of the likelihood of a positive result fighting would generate. So, in my head:
- Is it worth fighting over, which would mean turning back around and arguing with a carnie? No, it’s a silly stuffed animal.
- What are the chances of a positive result? Are we seriously going to win an argument with a drunk?
However, my wife’s thought process is slightly different:
- Did we get screwed? Yes, so let’s argue and argue and make a scene no matter what.
And when I say “no matter what”, I am dead serious. Evi’s phone died as we were leaving, so she had to charge it on the drive home. When I was coming down my block she finally had enough juice to play that video. In her estimation, my throw did not hit the rim at all.
And she wanted me to drive back to the carnival and argue with the carnie.
I love my wife more than life itself, but that was not going to happen. So it got a little colorful in my car for a few minutes. Eventually, we kissed and made up.
Hey, I paid for the game when she won herself a stuffed toy. That counts for something, right?