I’ve loved silent comedies ever since I was first introduced to Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times during an American literary history survey course in college. Modern Times still ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve branched out from then, developing an appreciation for Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton (who I may actually like better than Chaplin), but I’ll always hold a candle for the Little Tramp.
The Edison Street Organ Loft is probably the best-kept entertainment secret in Salt Lake City. The girlfriend and I went there on Friday night to catch a Chaplin double-feature: The Idle Class and A Dog’s Life. The last time we went to the Organ Loft, we had trouble finding a good seat, so we made sure to arrive plenty early this time. To keep ourselves entertained while waiting for the movies to start, we worked on a crossword puzzle on the girlfriend’s phone.
“I dunno that one.”
“Wait, what was five down again?”
“I think the answer there is ‘Nasir,’ but I’m not sure.”
Then, from in front of us, we heard a little voice ask, “What are they doing?”
A little blonde girl, maybe six years old, peeked at us over the back of her chair. Her mother sat next to her. The door now opened, we made conversation.
Her name was Sariah, and we quickly became her best friends. We showed her our crossword puzzle, and she quickly said she knew how to do those.
“No,” her mom said, “you do word searches. Those are different.”
Undaunted, Sariah continued to chat with us. Somehow, the conversation shifted to flossing (I think it might have been one of the crossword answers?) and Sariah immediately chimed in, “I don’t know how to floss.”
“Stephen does,” my girlfriend volunteered.
Of course, she wasn’t actually talking about dental hygiene. And thus an impromptu dance lesson broke out in the aisle at the Organ Loft.
The conversation eventually fragmented. Sariah’s father, a literature professor, showed up, and he and I began to talk about the narrative hidden in every research paper while Sariah continued to chat with the girlfriend. They grew so attached that Sariah moved back to sit with us during the movie, which she spent cuddled up under the girlfriend’s arm.
It was a cute experience, but it’s hard for me not to feel a little resentful. I mean, dates go to movies to have an excuse to cuddle. I wanted to cuddle with the girlfriend.
Anyway, Chaplin’s great. The end.