Although Cinco de Mayo merely reflects the Mexican state of Puebla’s defeat of their French invaders, the American food/beverage business industry has elevated it nearly to the level of a St. Patrick’s Day libation party. This year, Cinco de Mayo landed on a Friday. Another piece of evidence that I’m middle aged is that what I normally like to do on Fridays is exercise, then sip wine with dinner and chill since I survived another week of corporate America.
Yet, due to the Cinco de Mayo celebration, my apartment complex had a free taco bar and margaritas. Perfect timing for someone who’d just worked out. I met a few of my neighbors and spoke with the ladies in the office as I ate. Even in the presence of other people, I still finished my food in the same amount of time as I would have in my apartment, watching TV.
Last month, I’d received a pair of free movie tickets to see a biopic about Emily Dickerson. The friend who I invited to join me originally wanted to go at a 9 PM showing since he wanted to clean his house after work. Then he was invited to a margarita birthday party, which we went to prior to the movie.
The spacious house with hardwood floors brimmed with children playing and adults drinking. In the corner of the room, yet another taco bar awaited. Not the least bit hungry, I made a small sampler plate, starting with fried rice. The real treasure lie in the crock pot. A childhood favorite: spicy cheese dip with stewed tomatoes. Mom always put ground beef in hers, but the meat was in a separate dish.
Then I dove into the margarita bar. I followed the recipe of the night: 1 oz orange liqueur, 1 oz fresh lime juice, 1 oz tequila, splash of water. Seemed more like a tequila shot than anything else. I added a splash of ruby red grapefruit juice for sweetness. I began to feel my alcohol, thanks to the second margarita of the evening.
The birthday girl had turned 40 a few days ago. I welcomed her to the club. I’d never met anyone there before, but many had met one another playing kickball.
After eating, I ventured outside. If I’d thought the inside of the house was child-friendly, the the back yard was paradise. Most of the children were jumping around inside the enclosed trampoline, but there was also a homemade swimming pool, a homemade seesaw, but my personal favorite were the goats.
I forget the kids’ names, but they were both males, had budding horns and occasionally the black one kept mounting the white one. One partygoer made the observation that they had no upper teeth, only bottom teeth, which were very straight and long. I happily explained that some animals who groom themselves had what was called a “tooth comb.” My friend observed that the kids cleaned themselves like cats. Yet cats use their rough tongue and not a tooth comb.
Closer to the time we needed to leave for the movie, I took out the pass I’d printed out. For the first time, I noticed the disclaimer. We could only use it Monday-Thursday. I called the theatre, explained the situation and he told me that it was OK. After hanging up, I told my friend the good news, but admitted I felt that a 16 year-old had given me the green light.
I was right.
The situation turned out to be a little more complicated in person. The teenager working the ticket/concession stand didn’t know how to process the pass. She showed it to another teenager with more seniority who had to get the guy who was around my age to approve it. Originally, he tried to give us shit, pointing out the obvious disclaimer. My friend and I both calmly explained that I’d called ahead to see if it would still be honored and had been told that it would.
The guy told us he’d honor it that one time and walked away. (So, on an extremely slow Friday night, we were probably interrupting his secret porn watching.) We got our drinks and walked into the vastly empty movie theatre. After all, how many people are going to clamor to watch a movie based on Emily Dickerson at 9:10 PM on Cinco de Mayo?
We were two of about twelve people there. The B-movie had some funny, interesting parts. I’d known that Dickerson had never married, but I didn’t realize that she died of “Bright’s disease,” a kidney disorder, which caused her to have back pain and seizures.
What amazed me was even though she had the resources of a rich family, she seemed very leery of marrying since she didn’t want a future husband to take away her writing. Amazing how, after all this time, that’s still a very real sentiment among women, artist or not.