**This story contains a mention of pregnancy and childbirth.**
I just dropped my kid off at something called ‘Parent’s Night Out,’ hosted by our Karate dojo. My husband is with his friends at their annual all day game we affectionately refer to as ‘all gay dame.’ So I have the night to myself. It occurred to me that I could use a clever title for my little solo excursion. My buddy Malinda offered ‘baby’s night out’ and I think that fits. It implies wandering in a childlike state of exploration for the simple pleasures in life. A rare treat for a mama with a nine to five and a husband who works most nights and weekends.
I keep seeing writing advice about just sitting down and doing the deed without overthinking it. This is how ‘baby’s night out’ became a simple trip to some place with ambient noise and a good WiFi connection. That way I can experience this writing thing without the constant interruptions from my loving family. I can just be me for a while. I can be ‘baby.’
Speaking of babies, the diner I chose tonight happens to be the same one where my husband and I stopped for breakfast the day I gave birth to our one and only child. I was having what I believed were some pretty intense contractions, but doctors love to downplay these things. They’ll say, “Come back when the contractions are one minute each and less than five minutes apart for more than two hours.”
Maybe I’m a lightweight because, FUCK THAT! I’d been contracting all night. I just wanted to go to the hospital and let them take care of me. I was too restless to stay home, so my husband suggested a ‘last meal’ at our favorite diner.
It was early morning on a weekday, just after rush hour. We were pretty corny back then. We sat together on the same side of the booth and we called it our last breakfast as a party of two. The couple across from us had an infant in a high chair. They must have overheard me ‘hee-hee-hooing’ through contractions because they struck up a conversation.
These people were so kind to offer words of affirmation in lieu of advice. They even paid for our breakfast. We never saw them again, but wherever they are, I hope they are living their best life.
This diner has been the scene of many other formative moments. I used to hang out at all-night diners like this one with my comedian friends after shows and drink an absurd amount of coffee. If you are wondering what a bunch of comedians hanging out sounds like, the show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is pretty accurate, except none of us had any fame or money.
One such friend ordered chicken fingers after midnight and insisted they had given him breaded fish. He made each one of us try it. He discussed it at length and would not abide a change of subject. Not that it matters now, but Joe, if you’re out there, it was chicken!
I’m on a roll, but I started feeling bad for the waitress that I was camping out so long at her table, so I went to the bookstore across the street. The change of locations reminded me about the time I met one of my friends at the diner some time after her divorce. Her life had been turned upside down and the worst parts happened during the early days of the pandemic.
We talked about a lot of things. Life, love, relationships, and sex. She’s strong as hell and very intelligent. I like hanging out with people smarter than me. She recommended I read ‘Come as You Are’ by Emily Nagoski. After we left the diner to part ways, I ran across the street to this bookstore to buy it.
To cap off ‘baby’s day out,’ I purchased a memoir by one of the comedians I admire most. Expect a review once I finish it!