The other night my wife and I had a date. I like dates, because I love my wife, with all her brilliance and humor and pale-blue eyes. Dates remind me of the Larky Days, when she and I were just a pair of carefree canoodlers, scampering about the big city and not attending to other people's bowel movements.
The downside, alas, is that time away from the boys costs a boatload, thanks to the sitter and the sitter's dinner and the sitter's cab ride home. (Where do these women live? Schenectady?) So when it came time for my wife and me to step out for some preciously expensive "us" time, I came to a brilliant decision: We would spend it hanging around a grubby television studio.
We went to a filming of The Colbert Report, a tiny, basic-cable sapling among the Redwoods of Late-Night Comedy. I'd met him once at a friend's party, when he was just getting known as part of Exit 57 (and we were still going to parties). He's very gracious and funny, an easy guy to want good things for.
The bad news is that filming a TV show takes a long time, most of which is down time. It's a new show, so it doesn't exactly run like a Swiss watch. At one point, after three acts had been filmed, Colbert and his crew conferred at his desk for about half an hour, presumably debating decisions that should have been made in rehearsal (which had run long). As I sat there, and the time ticked by, and I saw my idea of a fun night out vanishing into the buttcrack of the glum cameraman directly in front of me, I became a little agitated. If my wife hadn't reached down and caressed my white knuckles, I'm sure I would have yelled out something like "Can you get on with this, please? I'm on the clock here!"
This reaction, I think, is in keeping with Dennis Miller's assessment of men, who "can look at a beautiful sunset and think, 'You know, I betcha my accountant is boning me up the ass.' " Except I was looking at a Teamster's ass.
Afterward, we had a quick meal at one of our favorite local places, and we laughed and talked about stuff we used to talk about, back when I had her all to myself. It was refreshing and fun, and worth every penny, almost.