It’s weird how much preparation goes into a thing which lasts such a short amount of time and doesn’t live up to your expectations.
I wasn’t supposed to have the next day off. My work changed schedule without informing me. I came in for my shift the day before my day off and they said, “Why are you here?”
“I’m always here today.” I said. “It is my Thursday.”
“You’re supposed to be here at 1:45.” my manager said.
“I’ve never done that before.” I said. “That’s my tomorrow shift.”
“It’s always been like this.” My manager said.
“I’m pretty sure not.”
“I’ll check on it, but I’m pretty sure.”
She leaves and comes back
“Nobody talked to you about your schedule?” she says.
“No. Why would they have?”
“It changed. You were supposed to work at 1:45 today. Your days off are different. You are supposed to have tomorrow off and the next day, not the next day and the day after.”
“Nobody told me.” I said. “And I can’t work on Thursday. It’s my anniversary.”
“You’ll have to take that up with Linda. Or, actually, I’ll talk to her.”
She leaves and comes back.
“We can let you have Thursday off, but you’re going to have to lose a day of work.”
“It’s fine. I’ll do whatever to get that day off. I already have plans which I can’t get out of.”
So here we sit, day 2 of our anniversary, well paid for through my efforts of argumentation. I’m naked in the bed, feeling quite accomplished for having taken my yearlong wife to a Broadway show. So romantic, so spot on, albeit not perfect, but who could have known? It’s the thought that counts. 3.95 well spent, if you ask me. As far as I could figure, it was up to Musette to plan the next leg of our holiday. 2 days, 2 people.
She asks me, “Do you want to do something today, or not, just tell me.” and I guess, I mean, it was a trap, because I told her, “I’m happy right now, not doing anything,” which didn’t go over so well, as the hours passed, show after show, Veep, an HBO show that stars Julia Louis Dreyfus, that chick from Seinfeld, as a vice president, playing through the Chromecast on Amazon Prime. I’m thinking it’s Pretty good. Pretty funny. Comic relief after a dose of House of Cards. No monologues. No Macbeth.
And then Musette’s up, straight faced, got that force of disapproval radiating from her. Claustrophobia, dissatisfaction. I mean, if you asked me, I could have expressed her thoughts, but it’s easier now for me, older than I have been, two years older than her even, let’s not forget that, to keep those thoughts and impulses contained and ignored within me. Call it impotence. Call it inertia. Call it the ghost of her mother coming through through my skin. Call it the TV watchers of Atlas’ parents watching me become them watching them on screen.
“What do you want me to do?” I say. “You ask me a question and act like there’s only one answer. I’m not perfect, but don’t you know that I’m happy just being here, with you, letting my body soak into our house, our home, which is each other, here, with the dog, a major part of our relationship? What’s so wrong with that?”
“It’s our anniversary!” she says. “You think I want to spend my anniversary watching marathon Veep!?”
“I thought you liked this show…”
She turns on the shower.
“I’ve got an idea.” I tell her, quickly looking up restaurants on my phone. “There’s this little French place not too far from here. Good ratings and not too high a price. Double dollar signs are appropriate for an anniversary date.”
“Fine.” She says.
I get in the shower. She doesn’t even hardly look at me. We clean off and get dressed. I’m not dressed as nicely as I was yesterday, but I’m still wearing my suit jacket.
The restaurant doesn’t open until five thirty. It’s three. She just had to get out of the house. What choice did I have?
“Where are we going?” She asks.
“Let’s just go this way.” I say, pulling her left on Myrtle, towards the laundry mat. “Who knows what we might find.”
She goes with it for a while, but she is in such a bad mood that she stops, says, “I know that nothing is this way.” and she pulls me back, towards the subway. And I know that if we get on the subway we’re not going to the French restaurant. But whatever. As appropriately themed as it may have been, it was still a spur of the moment life buoy, chosen simply to quell her aggression. This is her day to plan something. I took her to Broadway. I’m happy to have the responsibility off my shoulders.
We get on the G and ride towards Church, past Carrol street, into Red Hook. She is taking me to a place called The Lobster Pound.
“Lobster is royalty food.” she says.
But Red Hook is a scary place. It’s even got a scary name. What is a red hook anyways? A bloody hook? That doesn’t conjure happy thoughts in the average person. It spells murder weapon. There’s a murderer on the streets. I can feel it. I can’t help feeling that I’m going to get murdered on my anniversary.
“It’s been a good year.” I tell Musette.
The buildings are dilapidated. They are made of red brick and decaying wood. Rust runs up the beams as nails stuck jagged in the rafters. Men wear long jersey shirts which conceal pistols in their waist lines. They ride around chain link fences on low riding bikes. Muffled gunshots groan beneath iron pumping hammers and butchers sawing bones.
A long walk takes us around a park that I would like to spend more time in.
“Maybe one day we will return here, in commemoration of our first anniversary. Perhaps next year. Same time. Same place.”
Musette likes that idea. Her mood is improving. But don’t be surprised if this is a dangling thread, because I can’t guarantee that we’ll come back here. Going to The Lobster Pound may become an annual tradition, but who knows?
We turn down the street where The Pound should be, and end up walking past the place the map says that it is at. We start believing that it no longer exists. Perhaps they packed up and left town. Didn’t care to change their Google Maps status. It happened with the bookstore I work for. There was a location somewhere that we tried getting to and when we got there the location had closed. That was before I worked for them. I don’t know why they haven’t change their Google Maps status. Maybe it is a difficult thing to do. But it must be costing them money. Customers. Tourists. That’s just the way that place works though. As I expressed above: they don’t always get their eggs in the right baskets.
I’m the one using the Maps program. Usually it is Musette, but her phone sometimes freaks out, especially when it comes to navigating. It doesn’t pick up on the gps signals. The little arrow, which represents her current location, spins and jumps around.
Anyways, we turn around and end up finding the place. It’s pretty small and nondescript from the outside.
“That’s their logo.” Musette says as we approach.
There is a man standing outside. He has a beard. His name is Rusty. He will be our waiter, and he is the best waiter we have ever had. He is certainly the best waiter the restaurant could hope for. In our minds, he represents the restaurant. He’s perfect. He might as well own the place. I don’t know.
We accidentally enter through the wrong door. I had a feeling this was the case, but Musette had the lead. The place we enter into is a sectioned off area where you can purchase uncooked lobster by the pound. We pass through that area into the main restaurant. Rusty saw us. He meets us at the entrance to the other side and guides us to a seat. There is no one directly near us. There are only two other couples in the restaurant and we can’t hear anything they are saying.
He scoots a table into ours and asks if everything looks okay.
“It looks great.” I tell him.
He places some large paper mats in front of us. They are some of the best looking menus I’ve ever seen. The colors are red white and blue. All of the choices are on one page. There aren’t too many things to choose from. The sections are located logically. The logo almost makes me cry. It was a lobster with one claw shaped like a hook. It is being pulled by a tow truck.
We both order lobster rolls. They cost 22 dollars a piece. We also order a side of lobster fries and we both get beers. I get one that is brewed just down the street. It is called a six point. Musette gets one that has been brewed specifically for The Lobster Pound. I don’t remember who brewed it. Brooklyn Brewery probably.
The lobster fries have little chunks of lobster in them and a sort of light orange, slightly spicy mayonnaise.
“Lobster is the food of royalty.” I say, clinking glasses with Musette.
Rusty offers us the special of the day which is a seafood platter big enough for two. It costs thirty dollars. We end up getting lobster rolls. I order a Maine roll. I thought I was getting the main one that the restaurant offered, but there wasn’t really one of those. There were five main ones. Musette got a Connecticut roll. Hers was slathered in butter. Mine had Paprika in it. They are on little toasted pieces of bread. They are smaller than I feel like they should be for twenty two dollars. They both come with a side of pickles. We both get two other sides. We both get macaroni and cheese. I know that Musette would probably like the potato salad but I order it. She gets coleslaw.
Another couple comes in. The woman orders the Connecticut lobster too. It’s her birthday.
They are talking about a game which will be on later. It is a basketball game. The finals are happening soon.
We order a blueberry funnel cake for dessert. The blueberries were from Maine.
“Best blueberries in the United States.” Rusty told us.
“It’s like tempura.” Musette said. “But splurged everywhere willy nilly.”
The total comes out to eighty-eight dollars.
We tip Rusty enough money to get the bill to over a hundred dollars.