I Can See Kinda Clearly Now…

By Ernie Witham   |   March 15, 2018

“Have you seen my glasses?”

“Unbelievable. You’re always losing them!” 

It’s true. I have three pair and some days I can’t find any of them. “Here they are,” Pat said, returning from the back patio.

“Those are my reading glasses. I need my distance glasses if I have to go… I mean, because I want to be able to see every… loudly enjoyable, moment of Ashley’s dance thingee.”

Ashley is my daughter-in-law and an amazing performer. She teaches dance in the Valley and is in a modern dance troupe that performs all over Santa Barbara. At our anniversary party, she quickly taught everyone a few hip-hop moves and had all of us tripping the light fandango in no time.

“Ow!” “Umpf!” “Easy, dude!”

“Please stop tripping everyone, Ernie!”

“Not my fault. I can’t see my feet without my glasses.”

Anyway, we go see Ashley’s dance performances every opportunity we get, unless I have some prior commitment that I just can’t get out of.

“Rearranging your sock drawer? That’s all you got?” Pat said. “Here.” She handed me my distance glasses. I put them in my pocket and climbed into the passenger seat. 

“Aren’t we, like, way early?”

“We are going out to dinner first. Remember?”

“Huh. Well, then, I’m going to need my reading glasses after all. For the menu.”

Pat headed back into the house mumbling something that sounded like “moron” but probably was “Sure thing, hon.” 

We decided to have dinner at Joe’s Café, famous for their large portions and even larger drinks. “Have a booth for you right here. Now, what would you like to drink?”

“Bourbon,” I said.

“Glass or bottle?”

Told you they were generous with drinks.

“Why are you always hesitant to go to these things?” Pat asked. “You always enjoy them. You applaud like crazy at the end.”

I was going to say the end was my favorite part, but I let it go. Trouble is, for me, sometimes “modern dance” means “What the hell was that?” And I don’t think I’m the only one who’s confused. I’ve seen a number of guys with their mouths hanging open, looking stupefied.

“You have to admit, dear, that even you are sometimes confused about what they are trying to say.”

“True,” Pat said, “but Ashley’s always great.”

“I’ll drink to that,” I said. Our waiter held up a bottle and pointed at it. I thought about it, as my glass was half-empty, but shook him off.

“You can be a bit pessimistic sometimes,” Pat said.

“Only about dance. And opera. And classical music. And lectures labeled as ‘thought-provoking.’”

Dinner arrived. Pat got a steak that was mislabeled as “petit.” I got the mega meatloaf that was leaning against a mound of potatoes that could have had its own ZIP code. We dug in. Somehow, we managed to eat it all.

“Dessert?” the waiter asked. I watched two guys deliver something chocolate to another table. I could barely see the recipient over the mountain of whipped cream.

“No thanks,” Pat said. He looked at me and I reluctantly seconded her response.

The performance was at the Center Stage Theater, so we had to walk a ways up State Street. I got about three steps when the waiter ran out of Joe’s.

“Excuse me, sir, you forgot your glasses.” Pat just shook her head.

At the theater, we sat with Ashley’s mom, Robin, who drove all the way up from San Clemente. Robin is also a dancer and dance instructor. I took off my jacket and set it down. I heard something hit the floor.


Robin spotted my glasses under the bleachers but couldn’t reach them. “If we just had something to pull them closer,” she said.

“Would this help?” Another lady pulled out (seriously) a telescoping back scratcher. Robin pulled them closer and I grabbed them.

The show was quite interesting. Ashley was brilliant. And Pat even bought me a glass of wine at intermission. I offered to drive home. 

“Dang, forgot my jacket.” Pat handed me the jacket. “And my driving glasses.” Pat handed them to me.

“You need a purse.”

“No way!” I said, but then thought of all the stuff I could bring to these events. Like one of those back scratchers, extra bourbon, and dessert. Hmm.


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