Getting Buzzed at the Smoky Mountain Brewery*

The opening night 7:45 showing for the latest and greatest summer flick at The Forge Cinemas was looking a little cramped for my taste.  Given my adversity to crowds, I opted to purchase tickets for the 9:30 movie and decided the family and I would eat next door at the Smoky Mountain Brewery to kill some time beforehand.

Being the good little conformist that I am, I submitted our names, accepted the 45 minute wait notification with grace and sat down outside in the courtyard with my wife and children.

Having concerns about the range of the restaurant pager, I was comforted to see numerous other folks waiting outside as well.  After 30 minutes, I had become fatigued from my eight year old’s repeated inquiry, “How much longer?” so I responded with a more detailed explanation to ease her concerns, “Sweetie, we are about to get buzzed, I promise.”  I did not yet understand the gravity of my response.

“We are about to get buzzed?”

“Yes, sweetie, in just a few minutes, we will get buzzed, then we will eat, then we will go see the movie.”

I noticed that our conversation had drawn the attention of others around us.  Wondering defensively what was so interesting about my eight year old’s hunger pains, I did my best to ignore them since I was clearly the better person.

“Dad, what does getting buzzed mean?”

Uh oh.  The light of recognition just flickered into existence.

Somehow, I had just announced to the entire courtyard that I was taking my kid into the Smoky Mountain Brewery to get buzzed before watching the movie.  Time for damage control.

“Sweetheart,” I said in my most dramatic, now I want all those folks watching to hear me clearly, voice, “We are not getting buzzed.  What I mean to say is the buzzer to alert us that it is our turn will buzz and we will get to go in.  We are not getting buzzed at all.  The buzzer will buzz – not us”

“We’re not getting buzzed?” I could hear the alarm building in her voice.

“Honey, we… uhm this device,” I held the pager high in my hand for all spectators to see, “ will buzz very shortly and we will go in and sit down and I will order a diet coke and you will probably have a Sprite or something.”  That should clear things up for any potential spectators with DCS programmed into speed dial on their phone.

“You mean we are only going to order drinks?” she exclaimed in voluminous, sheer horror.

Good Greif.  “No, honey, we are going to wait for the buzzer to go off, then we will go in and order drinks and food and then go watch the movie.  Sound good?”

Finally, appeased, she sighed in relief and nodded.  I too was relieved mostly to see the facial expressions of recognition and understanding on those around me.

Though it would have been easy, I was not offended by everyone that assumed I might not be the most skilled parent on the planet.

I know what sacrifices I have made for my kids and how much I am willing to give up to protect them from even the smallest harm.  No river too deep, no mountain too high and all that stuff when it comes to them.

The buzzer went off and, as my parting shot to the doubters, I reached for my daughter’s hand and we walked to the door like the adoring daughter she is and overprotective father willing to sacrifice anything for the welfare of his children I am.

“Dad, do we have to go see World War Z?  I hate scary movies and really want to see Monster’s University.  You know I will have nightmares”

I rushed her through the door hoping her voice didn’t carry.

If you enjoyed this column and would like to see more, click here.

© Michael L. Collins

*Originally published as “Buzzed takes on new meaning” in the July 25, 2013 edition of The Mountain Press.

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