I spent more time driving yesterday than I did sitting in the Tacoma theatre to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. At least, unlike when I went to Kent to see The Force Awakens with Gabriel in 2015 and to Tacoma to see Rogue One last year, I didn't have to rent a Zipcar this year -- Shobhit only worked in the morning, which meant I could take his car. He didn't even complain about it! He was worried about it causing any problems and told me to be careful, but there really were no problems at all.
Except for the fucking traffic. In both 2015 and 2016, I picked up the Zipcar at, like, 3:00. I really could have done that this year quite easily and I'm not sure why I didn't -- maybe having Shobhit's car to drive gave me a false sense of security for some reason. My intent in the past was always to beat traffic. Gabriel never contacted me beforehand about dinner plans, so although I assumed there would be dinner at a restaurant before the movie, I didn't know for sure -- nor did I know if, for instance, he had a work or other commitment until right before the movie time. I did text him my travel plans in the morning, and I still didn't hear back from him until well after 5 pm. It was 5:08, I was still on Madison Street driving through First Hill in Seattle, and my GPS was telling me the ETA at the theatre was 6:32.
I quite naively thought I could conceivably get to the theatre in about an hour. It took me nearly two -- I actually didn't arrive until 6:49. Now, full disclosure, I could have arrived as much as ten minutes (probably closer to five or six) minute earlier if not for how I got confused by the traffic signage on the freeway. Had I just followed the GPS instructions I would have been fine, but I passed a traffic alert sign that literally read, FOR I-705 TAKE EXIT 134. Well, guess what? There is no fucking exit 134! -- I just looked at Google Maps and an exit 134 does exist, but only northbound. Why the fuck were they showing that to southbound traffic? In any case, because I figured this sign knew better the state of the roads than the GPS, I zipped past exit 135 -- the one I should have taken, which would have taken me straight to I-705 -- thinking I was going another mile to 134. But the next exit was actually 132A, well past I-705, and this added like nine minutes to the GPS's arrival time estimate, which had already increased to 6:40 from the original 6:32 after traffic got slightly worse on the way down.
I just followed the new directions from there, which kind of had me circling around and back up to Point Ruston. I drove like 40 mph on a stretch of road with a speed limit of 25 but whatever, no one seemed to be around. I did pass a cop car that had already pulled someone else over and I kind of figured, well, he's busy. It didn't make much difference, evidently, because I still parked at 6:49. I was pretty annoyed when I missed that exit on the freeway.
And this was for a showtime at 7:15. Gabriel, Shell, and Tess were all at a restaurant called Wild Fin -- sitting at the exact same table, in fact, that I met Gabriel, Kornelija and Tess at before Rogue One last year. Except I arrived much earlier then. I won't make that mistake again.
They were all done with their dinners, and decided we'd go over to another nearby place with quicker cook times for me to get a quick dinner in the 20 minutes we had until the movie was to start. Tess realized she had left her retainer behind, and Gabriel sprinted off to fetch it. Tess ordered a savory crepe, and Shell asked what I wanted. I tried to insist on buying my own grilled cheese sandwich but Shell insisted on buying it, citing my helping them move. Well, shit! If helping someone move gets me free meals weeks after the fact then I should do it more often! HA HA HA HA that's so not happening. It was very nice of her though -- and even Gabriel basically made it clear that he would not let me pay him back for the movie ticket either. I guess I need to adjust my budget then.
I ate as fast as I could, which left me with little opportunity for actual visiting in this very limited time before the movie. The grilled cheese came with pasta salad which was surprisingly delicious -- as was the grilled cheese. I should figure out the name of this place. Ah! It must have been Dolce Sí Bakery and Café. Good stuff. Eat there if you ever have the misfortune of being in stuck in Tacoma. I'm kidding! Tacoma's not so bad. It's just not near as great as Seattle, that's all. And by the way? Gabriel reliably bitches about Seattle traffic every single time he's in town -- and okay, probably the regular streets are generally worse in Seattle, but the freeway? Every time I drive to Olympia, or just to Tacoma, the freeway traffic is always worse in Tacoma. Seriously, by far the slowest and longest stretch of traffic I endured last night was the last ten miles before finally getting off at the 132A exit. So there!
We then rushed over to the neighboring theatre right at 7:15. The lady taking the ticket insisted Gabriel take off his Storm Trooper helmet. I never had time for a picture to take for a checkin like I did in both 2015 and 2016, and I was most disappointed to be too slow to get my camera out when, after the movie, Shell put on the Storm Trooper helmet and did a little dance on the stage in front of the screen, which was pretty fucking hilarious. Come to think of it, she shook her butt in almost the very same way Gabriel tends to when he's doing a goofy dance. I guess that's just more evidence for the idea that she's the female version of him.
There was a fun moment right when we went in when Gabriel was mystified by my being able to get my own ticket scanned -- he thought he had them all on his own phone. But, he texted mine to me weeks ago, and the text app even allowed me simply to add the ticket to the Wallet app. It's almost unheard of for me to know some technological convenience before he does, so I'd just like to savor that moment.
Our seats were in the front row, but it wasn't too terrible since the seats reclined. It did distort the 3D slightly, but it was tolerable. I still look forward to seeing it again, with Shobhit, in 2D -- my preference nearly always. Gabriel says he doesn't care either way, but unless the director is among the best and is making the movie specifically for 3D -- a rare combination indeed -- then to me it's just a meaningless distraction that makes the tickets cost more. I thoroughly enjoyed the film regardless.
I was going to drive right back home after the movie, but Gabriel really did not want that -- both because he felt bad that I had to arrive so late (I should really take responsibility for that; I should have had the wherewithal to leave work earlier than 4:00) and because he wanted to decompress and talk about the movie. By now it was 10:00, and he convinced me to stay for just a little bit. He and Shell both ordered drinks, but I didn't want one -- both because I was about to drive (when it was late enough that I'm usually tired, no less, although I found after that movie that I was fairly wired all the way home, listening to Doug Loves Movies) and because I just didn't want to buy one (or have them buy me one). I did eat a bit of the popcorn that Shell, oddly, bought on the way out of the theatre, because Tess had lamented that she didn't get any. I got the feeling Gabriel maybe didn't want that so much. Perhaps Shell spoils Tess a little.
There was a couple sitting at the table next to us who said they were about to see the movie, and didn't want to hear any spoilers -- but they were very cool about it, right down to deciding to get up and move to a table further away so we could be allowed to talk about the movie without ruining it for them. I don't think I ever experienced someone doing something like that before, come to think of it.
After about half an hour, though, I checked the GPS and it said it would take 50 minutes to get home -- it's generally half an hour drive between Tacoma and Seattle, but here another 20 minutes gets tacked on for the amount of driving to and from the freeway in town. I said I really had to go, and Gabriel said I was grumpy. Whatever! I was genuinely happy to see him, did feel it was too bad I could not see more of him outside of the movie theatre, but I really did need to get back. They actually mentioned how close they were to home -- Salmon Beach is just down the street from there. I, on the other hand, still had nearly an hour to drive back home.
And, indeed, I got home at about 11:20. I pretty much went to get ready for bed straight away. I did tell Shobhit the movie was great and that I look forward to seeing it with him. Maybe we should re-watch The Force Awakens before we go.
[posted 12:08 pm]