April 13th, 2014


Date Night

[Note for audio readers.]Note for audio readers. This is a conversation between two individuals; in order to be more inclusive to varied gender couples, I have not included narrative to differentiate the speakers. Instead, I've used visual formatting which places one speaker to the right of the page, and the other to the left. For listeners, please keep in mind that the speaker changes at each paragraph break.

“mmm, that was so nice. I feel all stretchy-relaxed.”

“So, nap then? No date night?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. What do you have in mind?”

“Dinner and a movie? Popcorn and pay-per-view?”

“That’s not a date night, that's what we do every night.”

“Well, what do you want to do?”

“There’s a new gallery opening I’d love to see. It's the Dutch Masters of the Golden Age or some such. You know, Vermeer and the like.”

“Seriously, you think wandering around looking at photographs of wine and cheese is a good time? Now you’re making me hungry, and Froot Loops aren’t going to cut it.”

“They aren't photographs, they are photo-realistic paintings. We could go out for Teppanyaki. That’s like dinner and a show.”

“Right, another way of just sitting around all night. I’d like to do something active, like bowling, or hey - isn’t there a new indoor ice skating rink that just opened up?”

“On this ankle, you think I want to go ice skating anytime soon? If you want active, we should just go to the club together. I could swim and you can go climb stairs on that weird escalator thingie.”

“It’s not an escalator. And how would that be a date, with you on a whole different level of the building from me? But there is a kick boxing class I’ve been wanting to try. We could go together.”

“You might as well suggest the new indoor trampoline place; I really don't think I should risk all that bouncing while my ankle is still healing. All this talk of exercising has me exhausted. How about we just walk to the corner market and pick out fresh meat and veggies for a stay-at-home meal? They’ve still got some of the date night baskets put together, so we don’t have to think out what to fix. They’re themed to match the included DVD.”

“So, what I suggested in the first place: dinner and a movie. Date Night. If NASA can put a man on the moon, why can’t we manage to plan a simple date together without riding a Rube Goldberg roller coaster, just to get to the first idea on the table? I think we need another relaxation break to de-stress from all this planning. C’mere you.”

[Description of Image]A Rube Goldberg cartoon entitled How to Get Rid of a Mouse. There is a caption included in the image: The best mousetrap by Rube Goldberg: Mouse (A) dives for a painting of cheese (B), goes through canvas and lands on hot stove (C). He jumps on a cake of ice (D) to cool off. Moving escalator (E) drops him on boxing glove (F) which knocks him into basket (G) setting off miniature rocket (H) which takes him to the moon.

This has been an entry for The Real LJ Idol writing competition: the Final Season, Topic 5 : Build a Better Mousetrap.

Author's note.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard Mouse Trap was the game designed in homage to Rube Goldberg[*], a cartoonist famous for his cartoon illustrations of comically involved, complicated inventions, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation, to quote Webster’s New World Dictionary. I originally encountered his work through the pages of Mad Magazine. When I went looking for his artwork, I was delighted to find a webpage dedicated to invention. In further serendipity, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest 2014 College Nationals were held this weekend. This year's theme was "Zip a Zipper," and first place went to “A Simple Way to Get Ready for Work” from Purdue, West Lafayette IN.

[Description of Image]Picture of the winning Rube Goldberg Machine. Unfortunately, the narrative for the winning machine does not appear to be available, and the picture does not clearly illustrate the machine’s complex interactions. There are a number of individual components in the picture, including a bowling ball, a coffee pot, a gumball machine, and a large pipe wrapped with caution tape.