Spielberg, deer and other encounters…


Family movie is a popular tradition in our household, mainly weekends. Lately however, it seems to have infiltrated the rest of the week, even school nights. (Hang the next day tiredness!) My husband and I, eager to infuse our kids with the wonderment of our childhood favourites, take turns as program directors. Last night was my husband’s and with a lifelong passion for the secrets of the universe, was proud to present “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

My sci-fi/star wars/trekkie brain voted:  fb like

Our boys are 8 and 10, some may say too young for this kind of material. Look, we’ve done the G-rated stuff to death and our kids are really enjoying the upgrade. Great news for these film buff parents! Admittedly, they were a little creeped out the first 20 minutes but then the pace thickened in classic Spielberg storytelling style and they were all in! As the end credits rolled, my husband dove into a spirited debate with them about all things alien, universe and dimension and they loved that too.

And me? I ran around cleaning up our family movie snack aftermath, topped up my chamomile and began the nightly ritual of barking at the air, “That’s enough!”, “Come on, move it!” and “Upstairs, teeth!”

I’m a Virgo and according to various references, Virgos can be prone to pedantry and inflexibility.  Ahem…in my defence, it was late and I’d spent the entire day wrangling the kids, actually, make that an entire 2 1/2 month long Summer break wrangle! So, true to form, I marched the kids through their bedtime routine. Good job, Victoria! Now onto the 3rd season of True Detective.

With UN-style diplomacy, my husband expressed disappointment at a lost opportunity to fully discuss Spacetime, Relativity, Quantum da da da with his boys, especially while the topic was so hot…he gently suggested a little spontaneity may serve us (meaning me) well, however he understood my domestically-weighted daily existence and the desire to clock off at bedtime.

What! Me not spontaneous?! Of course I am!…well, of course I can be…okay, okay, I’m a steel girder, a cinder block.

My ego tried vainly to cover itself with what pathetic coverings remained. Damnit! He was right!

What’s all this got to do with deer I hear you ask? Well, this morning, filled with a tepid resolve to tackle life from a different angle, I decided to take the kids for a hike through the scenic Will Rogers State Park. (Good for them, good for my attack on unwanted fat.) Alongside a row of parked cars, a sign read, “Save the park! Park at the park.” Fine. More than happy to help. Turns out I couldn’t bring myself to pay the flat rate of $12 for a 30 minute walk. (Hey park guys, why not an hourly fee?) So I turned around to take the kids back to our usual scooter route. Spontaneity not working so far.

Then I saw it. An opportunity for a Close Encounter. A single deer, leisurely breakfasting on some sweet roadside grass. Yes, deer do live in the hills, but apart from seeing a few when we first moved to L.A. over 2 years ago, nothing since.

Here he is, right beside my passenger window, fearless, calm.


And then he spots a gaggle of yapping teen joggers approach.


Me attempting Close Encounters of a different kind, mentally yelling, “Keep it down! Shut up! Go around the car!”

Of course they did not pick up on my thoughts and did do exactly the opposite, startling said deer into the trees. More mental yelling from me.

So after an attempt to not be so Virgo and more spontaneous, I ended up doing exactly what I normally do…

…with one small but rewarding difference.

Note to self: continue the pre-school education on spontaneity but if that fails, back to chamomile and True Detective…


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