The boys are off this week for spring break. In keeping with something of a trend, Cass bought T2 and I tickets to see a civil war themed musical at Ford’s Theater. T2 and I hang out all the time. He just came downstairs and asked me, for the tenth time today, if I could go upstairs and play with him. It’s just a bit past noon. That said, none of us could think of a time when he and I had gone for a night on the town, just the two of us. Everyone was relatively excited.
We made him dress like a normal person, which is to say we told him he couldn’t wear athletic pants and a t-shirt. There was some struggle over this, he hates jeans and didn’t understand why he couldn’t wear Nike gear to the theater.
“I’m not going to be in the play, right?”
After a monumental fight with his buttons, he emerged from his room wearing jeans, a dark blue button down (or “collared” as he calls them) shirt and gold high top sneakers. Also, his mother had actually brushed his hair, something that he never does. He looked cool as hell. He wasn’t sure if he liked the look or not.
“I look like a French kid!” he exclaimed.
“What?” I asked. “What does that even mean?”
“I look fancy. Look at my hair! I’m wearing a collared shirt. I’m like a French kid!”
“You…you aren’t like a French kid. You look good.”
We drove to DC, which took about an hour with traffic. The whole way we played electronic dance music, which he loves. He made us rate each song and discuss what parts we liked or didn’t like. Once we got into the city he switched his running commentary to architecture, pointing out buildings that were neat but which didn’t match its surroundings. For example, we drove by the Almas Temple on K-Street. He remarked that the building was awesome but looked like it belong in Egypt.
“That style of building is called Moorish revival,” I said.
“I don’t know what that means,” he said. “I just know that you look at it and you think, ‘oh, I’m in Egypt’ and then you look to the right and the building is all modern. Weird. Cool, but weird.”
We had to detour around the White House, something he considered my fault and then we finally arrived at Ford’s.
We were early, so we went next door to the Hard Rock Café. Hard Rock is a rip-off but I thought it would amuse him. It was packed and with a 45 minute wait. Instead, we went around the corner to an upscale Asian restaurant. The hostess made over him (because he really did look cool) and took us to our table.
“Table clothes,” he observed. “Nice.”
We ordered him Teriyaki chicken. He asked that they add sesame seeds to it.
Diner conversation started off being about Minecraft and with him ease dropping on the conversations of the diners around us, but then completely fell apart when the food arrived.
“Oh my god,” he said, after taking his first bite. “Try this. Patrick. Try this.”
I did. It was good.
“I am so glad the other place was crowded,” he said, inhaling his dinner. “I even like their rice. Can we come back here after the play? Can we come here tomorrow? No, it’s too far. Can we order from here? Also too far? Okay, but we have to come back.”
He asked if he could order more. The request confused our waitress, who fetched the manager. T2 is generally a little shy in public. Apparently all you need to get him to come out of his shell is julienned vegetables and thinly sliced chicken.
“This is the best chicken I have ever had,” he announced to the manager. “Your chef is awesome. Did you know that? This sauce, what is this sauce?”
“It’s…teriyaki sauce?” the manager said-asked, a little taken aback by my young ward’s enthusiasm and probably by his somewhat Socratic conversational style. “I’ll get you some more pieces.”
He ate so much I was afraid he was going to get sick, so I took the last bit of the second helping away from him and put it on the other side of the table. I told him to leave it there, got up and went to the bathroom. When I returned he had switched seats and was eating the rest.
“You said leave it there,” he pointed out. “I didn’t move it!”
We paid and walked next door to the theater. In the elevator up to the balcony we had a discussion about ballistics and entry angles as they related to the assassination of the 16th President. I like to think the other patrons were impressed by my nine year old’s grasp of bullet trajectories. Our seats were, to his delight, right next to the box where the shooting took place.
“Where were his body guards?” he asked. “I mean, anybody could just walk in there. Did they leave to get a soda? I bet they left to get a soda.”
The musical was entertaining. He liked it when the slaves or the soldiers sang. He zoned out a bit when the women did their numbers about missing the soldiers. He especially liked one of the slaves, a tall man whose voice was a deep as the actor who does the Allstate Insurance commercials.
“His voice is so deep,” T2 said, leaning over and whispering to me. “What did he have for breakfast?”
I think his favorite part was the other goings on- the stage moving around, the special effects, the lighting. He was pretty interested in how they did all of the stuff they were doing. We both enjoyed it.
By the time it was over, he was beat. We walked back to the car and headed home, the drive taking much less time with the traffic cleared out.
“That was fun,” he said. “Play was good. Chicken was amazing. We should thank mom.”
We thanked mom.