I was very excited on Monday afternoon, when I received the call. "Hey! Is this Tracie?" It was an Austin number, and it was a real person. I had been selected to receive two 'reserved' seats for the film "Dunkirk", for the following evening. It was a preview. Apart from being interested in seeing the movie, I had entered the contest because the seats were 'reserved'. I have declined to take part in those contests that will allow me early viewing, but require queuing in a 'first come, first served'', capacity.
Dana reluctantly agreed to come with me, as I really wasn't sure as to whom would be interested in seeing the film. Samantha said that she would have come if it was on Monday, as Edward had to work late that particular night. As Tuesday progressed, and we became busy, I told Dana that he did not need to leave the office, and his piles of work, to see a film that he would really rather not! He feared it would be quite gory, and was not wanting to be subjected to such scenes. Bravely, I said I would go alone!
Considering the amount of time we used to spend at the Mall located around the corner from the cinema, I was quite surprised that I could not remember how to get there! I started my journey and realised that I was unsure of my route. Dana gave me directions, which I followed, but as I approached the Interstate, I was running out of road before having to merge with traffic. I looked to my left and could not see anything familiar. On my right, however, was the car park, and right in front, the cinema!
I walked past those who had sensibly brought chairs and sunshades, and plenty of water, and went into the building. I was directed towards the back, and spoke to a security agent. The radio station personnel were currently 'setting up', and they would attend to me shortly! "They wont ask for ID", said the random stranger, who was presumably awaiting the same personnel. I smiled graciously and attempted to move back into the shadows. "Want a warm fuzzy feeling?" he said, as he approached me once more. Wondering why I had said, "I will be fine on my own", I surveilled my surroundings and was sure I was safe. "If you don't get in, my ticket is good for two. Nothing weird. Don't have to sit together". Thanking him politely, and giving him the benefit of the doubt, I replied that I was sure my name would be on the list.
Eventually, the radio chappie emerged, and asked for members of the press to come forward. They were ushered into the cinema to take their seats. When he called for the radio station winners, the random stranger walked forward, as did I. "Me and my wife are here", he said, without batting an eyelid. I looked around for the spouse, as I was sure he had said he was alone. Naivete has become a little too commonplace for my liking, but I seem to be suffering from it more and more. In my ignorance, I gave my name, still awaiting the arrival of Mrs random stranger, as Mr Stranger (whom I might add was about to live up to his assumed name) gave his title. My name was found, but it was not next to the one of my partner. His name was found, but on a different winning list. "Are you together?" came the question. "No! No! I have never seen her before. I don't even know her name!" came the emphatic response. A wristband was issued to the gentleman to whom I was briefly united in matrimony, but quickly divorced, and then the attention was on me! "Are you alone?" asked the confused young man. "I am. No one wanted to come with me", I said, smiling as innocently as possible. "Then that man....". I chuckled and explained how he had offered me his 'plus one', but had complete confidence that my name was on the list. I was provided a wristband, and a somewhat relieved smile.
Six rows were cordoned off with the familiar yellow tape, and I chose my seat, top row of the section, middle seat. It was almost perfect. I am a 'sit as far back as possible' person, but being honoured with a 'reserved' seat, I stayed within my designated area. The crowds outside were eventually let in. "Wristband? Do you have a wristband? Can't sit there. This is for wristbands only". The geriatric guard were out in full force. I must at this stage point out that they do an amazing job, and are merely volunteers, but occasionally, and I say this with as much admiration and affection as I can muster, they do tend to get a little carried away with their authority. However, much as their authority is generally recognised, there is always one! "I will sit where I want to sit" was met with the resounding, "Oh no you wont!" This was, presumably, the entertainment before the main show; the 'warm up' as it is known in the theatre! "If those seats are open when the movie starts...." came the open ended threat. The lady in question could not decide whether she wanted to sit above, or below the 'restricted deck', and finally walked down the steps to the front, where her feet promptly left the ground and she flew a couple of inches before landing horizontally. All eyes were on the performer. "What is that doing there. Did you see that". Although we were all witnesses, no one came forward to make a statement! However, the desired effect was achieved, and two security people came forth to ask how they could be of assistance. "I told her! She cannot sit here! It is for wristbands only!" came the response from the duty guard, who refused to give up his position when the injured party cried (as in sobbed) that she really wanted to sit "right there!" A compromise was reached, albeit not in favour of the victim. As all seats were virtually filled, the selection remaining were single, and whilst most people were ready to shuffle along to make a dozen more doubles, no one was asked. Two young ladies were asked if they would mind moving, and they agreed. The victim and her 'plus one' were seated in an 'I guess it will work' seat, and the two young ladies were ushered to the 'I want those seats'. Quite satisfied were the ladies. Quite unsatisfied was the victim, but considering her Oscar winning performance, she was unable to create too much havoc, as she was, after all, injured! Smugness is the word I would use to describe the face of the duty guard!
The film was excellent, and well worth the effort to go alone. I watched without once looking at my watch, and lived every moment. One of my uncle's was at Dunkirk, and so it was quite personal. His inability to swim had saved his life, as his best friend had managed to get to a boat. Responding with profanity, as my uncle called for his help, the best friend climbed upon the destroyer, just as the Luftwaffe dropped its bomb. The best friend was cremated and my uncle lived to tell the tale. He never learned to swim!
I left the cinema after Mr. Stranger and Mrs Victim had made their exit, and drove home.
Reflecting on the men and women who were the heroes of the hour, I continued with my work week, lamenting a bygone age. Watching the re-enactment of hundreds of little ships bobbing about in the ocean, ready to take the brave lads home from what would have been certain annihilation, was quite humbling. Camaraderie at its best! There are, of course, still those that would gladly give their lives for others. I admire our military, for whom I am thankful, and know that the emergency services can be reached by dialing three numbers.
The fire was not large enough to activate the emergency services by dialing the three designated numbers on Thursday evening. The smoke alarm pipped continuously, and the smoke bellowed out of my kitchen. The little bits of batter, that had not been cremated, were bobbing about in the oil that had yet to catch fire! Yorkshire pudding is the enemy that will be conquered one day! I had (naively so - there is that word again) filled ten out of twelve pots with batter, and left the other two with just the oil. (I knew it was probably a mistake at the time!) The smoke billowed inside the oven, and then the 'never do this at home', act that is the number one rule in cooking, was committed. I opened the oven door, thus allowing the oxygen into the area, and it ignited! I did think quick! I closed the oven door and turned off the appliance. It took two hours for the smoke to subside, and the smell is still lingering. However, after another couple of hours of soaking and cleaning, I have a very clean oven! Once again, my impatience prevailed, and I was too hasty in my wish to make the delicacy. I shall try again, but not for a couple of weeks!
I called the radio station on Friday, just to thank them for the opportunity of seeing the film before it was officially released. The young lady on the other end of the line was grateful for the gratitude, and rather surprised. "We don't get thanked!" When asked if I enjoyed it, I told her how it was personal. If she put on an act showing interest, it was on par with the lady at the cinema, as she sounded most emphatic in her response. Apparently, I had made her day with my call!
The weekend was one full of different surprises. I had plans to purchase a small freezer some years ago. I have 'fridge-freezer', which is quite adequate, if I do not want to store too much. However, with my recent run on culinary experiments, (Yorkshire Puddings aside,) I am in need of a little extra space. Costco had a wonderful bargain, that could not be competed with, but I was unsure as to their delivery options. "We don't deliver", was the answer. I was told that I could purchase it online and it could be sent to wherever I desired, but this particular item was not available online. "In other words, I can't buy it online", was my response. A smile, and inability to catch the contradiction, was the response. "We can hold it until the end of the day", was his best offer! I had calculated that with the cost of a rental truck, the deal was still much better than purchasing it elsewhere, and called Dana to let him know what I was about to do. Dana is quite willing to adhere to my wishes, but on purchasing anything bigger than a toothbrush, he likes to do a little bit of research. (Toothbrushes come into the category, but I do not have the time to wait.) The research can take months, and often to no avail. However, we have a deal! "There is an advert that says there is a special offer. It's thirty bucks cheaper than they are quoting", was his response, after he failed to find any reviews. I asked as to when the advert was placed, as he has a tendency to find rather old offers. I reminded him of the time he sent me to HEB to buy cherries (when he was suffering from gout and they were considered to be helpful) at a very low price, and after reprimanding every store manager for reneging on their advertisement, found that the advert was dated some seven years earlier and in a different location! "February. Doesn't give a year!" was the response. There were two left. Samantha found some very good reviews, and so I bought the freezer!
Two women, a Rogue (a Qashqai, I believe it is called in the UK,) and a chest freezer were together in Costco's car park. We manoeuvered the box, and lifted. We dropped it down again, and out came the trusty tape measure. It would fit. With the back seat down, and everything else taken out, we lifted again, and the box slid into the car without a hitch. Everything else was replaced around the freezer. We expected a cheer from the crowd, but it was not forthcoming. The offer of help from a couple of male employees was also not forthcoming. So much for camaraderie! The final appliance was bought by a couple who left at the same time. They had a bigger car, more space, and one of them was a man. Samantha watched them struggle, remove the appliance from the box, struggle some more and finally haul it into place. "He was probably telling her what to do", I replied with my sexist remark!
Once home, Dana helped us bring the freezer into the house, after we had removed it from the car. We did not need, nor want, additional help with that, as we were now experts. The packaging was removed and it was rolled, on its wheels, into place. A good job done!
It was an interesting week. From being humbled by the acts of bravery of both the military and the boat owners, risking life and limb, without a thought for their own survival, to my being reduced to tears over a self-inflicted trivial incident in my kitchen. It put a lot into perspective. I reflected on when my mother bought her first freezer, and the excitement when it was delivered, and 'grounded', because she was now able to store 'ready made' beef burgers (only to be eaten as a special treat) to my simply picking one up at the store (literally) an putting it in the car to bring home!
Today is hot. Yesterday was hot. Tomorrow will be hot. I am planning to spend some time at the pool, with my book! Another aspect of a different life! I find myself, once again, thanking all who make this possible, and all whom have made it possible. To me, thanking the military, and emergency services will never get old! I hope everyone who is reading this has a safe and blessed week, and are all around to, hopefully, enjoy ............ another story!