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Steve and Teresa’s Fabulous Child-free Dream Date

Stephen and Teresa Gashler

Stephen and Teresa GashlerOn Monday, Teresa and I dropped off the kids at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, then we set out to Salt Lake City. It was wonderful to be able to complete a sentence without being interrupted by a screaming child. Our first destination was the Clarke Planetarium, where we wrapped our minds around the great concepts of astronomy and astrophysics. Physical exertion can be rewarding, but so can mental exertion. Again, it was wonderful to be able to make complete thoughts.

We ate dinner at Costa Vida, where we saved a whole dollar for being vegetarians. A dollar! Then we went to a place called “Mystery Escape Room” or something like that. We were locked in a room with creepy dolls, creepy music, and a creepy painting of a woman, where we had to solve a long series of puzzles within less than an hour. Solving puzzles would reveal key combinations, which would open chests or closet doors. In one closet, which I had to crawl into, there was a skeleton, and rubber cockroaches fell from the ceiling. It was all pretty cool. It scared Teresa. I just thought it was hilarious. If ever there were an old, abandoned, and allegedly haunted mansion that would be given to the brave soul who would dare spend the night in it alone, I would totally do it. Ghosts crack me up, what with their uncanny knack for showmanship and all. All it takes to defeat them is a little existentialism. Anyway, we didn’t solve the puzzles in time, though we did pretty good. The event usually recommends groups of twelve.

For desert we had ice cream covered with fruit at a nearby parlor. Mmm, boy. During all this time, we went through items of a lofty list we’d made of ways to improve our lives, from managing our time better, to being more spiritual, to achieving our career ambitions, to upping our chefdom, to the adventures of Eliza R. Snow, to becoming kick boxers. I never grow tired of talking to this woman, because she loves to dream with me.

We stayed at the Best Western hotel. Can you believe that? THE BEST Western hotel. Only the heater in our room was lousy. Though the pool and hot tub were nice. We stayed up into the wee hours watching cooking shows. We don’t normally watch TV, you see, so when we do watch it (pretty much only when staying in hotels), it’s riveting, even calling for a pizza delivery.

The next morning, after a kingly breakfast, we returned to the planetarium, eager to fill our minds again with the wonders of the cosmos. Only this time the place was overridden by children. Children! That the defeated the purpose! No more children! So we bagged the planetarium and instead roamed around the City Creek Mall for a couple of hours.

Next we hit up Ensign Peak. It’s a nice, little hike, offering a nice little view of Brother Brigham’s city, which I predict has less than forty years until fire reigns from heaven or the like.

On our way back, we stopped at the capital building, wherein we craned our necks back to behold the cathedral-like depiction of God sending down his legions of seagulls to punish the ungodly crickets. Among the other great artwork and architecture, we were perplexed by the sculpted lions with pink wings. … Huh?

There we pondered on the brilliance of having both a senate and a house of representatives. Far from a single monarch to call the shots, there’s not only a large council but two large councils, a brilliant system to make sure that nothing gets done unless it’s really important. Though I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the need for a governor or a president. Don’t commanders and chiefs run the risk of defeating the purpose of congresses by possessing the authority to actually get stuff done?

Our last stop was a restaurant called Bud’s, perhaps the weirdest restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. There’s nowhere to park. There’s no special signage or anything to indicate what the restaurant actually serves. The place is a tiny hole-in-the-wall corner of an old building, big enough only for a couple of people to take your order through one window and hand it to you through another. The only place to sit is at a couple of tables by the sidewalk. But the food was brilliant: 100% plant-based sandwiches. Teresa ordered a “pulled pork” sandwich made out of something called jackfruit. I ordered a Buffalo “chicken” sandwich. It was the best faux meat I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot. Isn’t it just like life? The most brilliant things are esteemed as naught while the most awful things are celebrated with spotlights and confetti. I shall liken thee, O Israel, unto an harlet.

And then it was all over. The blissful dream of two in love in a world without tantrums, quarrels, and diapers had to burst beneath the chains of reality.

I hope you don’t gather from my writing that we actually resent our children. I’m a bit of a satirist.

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