Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Speaking of taxi drivers . . . .

It was a beautiful day yesterday, and Sec and I hung out in the playground for a long time. Now that its playground weather again and she is four years old, she has learned a thousand new ways to induce cardiac arrest in her mother. These categories include

Filth Immersion

High -Flying Feats

Talking to Strangers

And, of course --


I have come to think it is good for my cardiac health for my heart to get stopped and restarted a few times a day, the way its good to reboot your computer so programs don’t freeze up.

We hung out until she had nothing left in her bag of tricks and then I thought she might be hungry. Nothing like playing with glass shards in the dirt patch used by dogs to defecate to work up an appetite.

I suggested we get a slice at the new pizza place near the playground which we’ve been meaning to check out. I’m on an eternal quest for the best local slice and it was very possible that this joint had it.

I continued to believe in this possibility even after I walked in the place, past the only patron – a wackadoo waiting for a slice to go (small mercy) who was talking on the phone much too loud and staring at himself in the mirror intensely as he did so. I believed in the potential of the pizza even after I unloaded Sec into a dirty booth in the dingy dining area. Once I got a load of the dining area, I thought a more fitting name for the pizza place, which was something generic like Ray’s or Joe’s or Mama’s – would be “End of the World Pizza.” Or maybe, “Apocalypse Pizza.”

A less inviting dining area, I’ve never seen. It was lit like an interrogation room and covered in the kind of filth that has become too deeply embedded in plastic to ever wash off, which I found odd, since it was a brand new place. Oh, well, I figured – we’re starving, and it doesn’t take long to wolf down a slice. Better to have Sec contained at the end of the world than allow her to eat her pizza out of doors, where it was sunny and bright and limitless.

I was aware that the TV in the End of the World Dining Area was on, loudly, and playing some un-kid-friendly programming but it wasn’t until I ordered the pizza and came back to rejoin Sec at our table that I realized how un-kid-friendly the programming was. Sec was kneeling on her seat, staring open-mouthed at the television. I followed her eyes and saw a half-dozen blood splattered people in 70s attire.

“Look Mommy!” Sec exclaimed, “Those people have blood on them!”

“Oh honey!” I shrieked, turning her around so her back faced the TV, “That is a grown up show! It’s not appropriate for kids!”

She snuck a few glances but then her pizza came – on the low end of mediocre, as you might guess—and I was able to keep her attention away from the TV with stories about Rapunzel and Snow White and their girls getaway to New York City. I, meanwhile, store glances at the TV, trying to figure out what in the hell kind of movie these End of the World Pizza guys had seen fit to play in their dining establishment at lunchtime. A zombie movie, I thought at first, but then it was clear the movie had gritty realism and was shot in the 70s. Its general tone made you want to kill yourself -- bleak, bleak, bleak.

And then I saw a close-up of Robert Deniro and heard him say to the camera: “Are you talking to me? Are you TALKING to ME?”

Taxi Driver.

The perfect flick to watch while “enjoying” pizza with your four year-old on a lovely spring.