Beautiful at the Pantages

Gordon and I celebrated out 36th wedding anniversary yesterday by going to Beautiful, the Carole King Musical at the Pantages. The show was part of our series so we didn’t have to plan anything–which is good. I find celebrations like anniversaries…and holidays…anything that involves celebrating actually, stressful. I always build up such expectations that can’t possibly be met that I end up mad and depressed because the day wasn’t ‘special’. So we decided that we wouldn’t have any fun. We just exchange two cards, I make a cake, and if anything else happens that’s fine. But there will be no fun-seeking; it’ll just be an ordinary day. Well, it turns out that our ordinary days are pretty special. We opened our first cards to each other after singing an off-key “Happy Anniversary” to ourselves. A family membership to the LA zoo fell out of mine. I just looked at Gordon and said, “But that’s not the deal! I didn’t get you anything!” He said not to worry, it was a charitable donation. Well, that takes the guilt out of it…and now I get to see the tigers whenever I want! Yay!

I made him a lemon cake. He really likes lemon cake.

We left early for the theater to get a good parking place and have a drink before the show. The places we liked were full and I don’t like 33 Tastes (sports bar; a little too ‘guy’ for me. Besides, I wanted wine not beer) so we walked down Vine and found a little place called Macau. They had a soccer game on every TV and the clientele seemed to be from South and Central America. We sat at the bar and had a glass of wine (I did anyway–Gordon had iced tea) and talked the bartender into turning one small TV to Jeopardy. We were the only people watching that TV so it didn’t seem like a big deal. The big deal was getting the channel changed. The bartender finally just gave us the remote because nobody could figure out how to work it. We randomly punched buttons until we got the right channel but we couldn’t explain to the bartender how we got there. We ordered spring rolls and salt & pepper chicken–which were quite good. We left the bartender a big tip because he’d been so helpful and left for the show.

It was opening night for Beautiful so the house was sold out. The young woman next to me had come by herself because she was leaving for Budapest the next day on business and wouldn’t be back before the end of the run. She was a little nervous about going but I told her Budapest was a beautiful city and she’d probably love it. Then the show started. It was a retrospective of Carole King’s life and included tunes from her Tin Pan Alley days–songs she’d written and songs of her friends. I didn’t realize she was so prolific. Anyway, the play wasn’t earth-shaking or thought-provoking but it was a pleasant way to relive my youth. I made the snarky comment, “Now in my day we had music!” to Gordon. The kid next to me surprised me by saying that I was right. So I guess I’m not the only one who thinks the popular music these days is crap. The woman who played Carole got a standing ovation and in this case she earned it. And I just wanted to go home and play my Tapestry album. Unfortunately, we don’t have a turntable anymore. We have a huge LP collection and no turntable. Seems like a waste.

Gordon and I went home and had one last piece of cake before bed. We yodeled one last version of “Happy Anniversary” (Haaaapppy Anniversary)  to each other, giggled, and turned on the dishwasher.

We solemnly agreed that we hadn’t had any fun and that it had been a great day. Hope not to have any fun next year either.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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