As a test, I showed Lucien some Cats clips on YouTube. After five seconds of watching Mr. Mistoffeles prance around like an asshole, Lucien said, "No thanks, get me a babysitter." It was a clear message I would have been an idiot to ignore.
I asked Alex to come with me. His reply was, "Would that make you happy?" I said "Yes." Then he said, "This gift is backfiring on me."
Alex agreed to be my date, then immediately asked how long Cats was. I googled the question and found this --
"forever, those cats never stop singing, you just want it to end."
Our tickets were for the Saturday matinee. This wouldn't have been a problem except Friday night was Girls Night Out, organized by a friend to celebrate another friend who just ran the Boston Marathon. We salute you, Seattle Mom.
Posse, you know I love beer. Beer is my friend. I also enjoy wine. Hard alcohol, however, I do not do. We do not get along. It never, ever ends well for me, such as the time we threw a festive "tequila party" in college. Whenever I think about that party, I want to track down my old college roommate and throw up in her clothes hamper again.
But memories are funny things. As in, I always forget them when they matter. The ladies and I started our Friday evening with a few shots at a local craft distillery's tasting room. Then we walked up to Poquitos on Capitol Hill and had a couple margaritas. Then we went across the street to Moe Bar where there was dancing paired with several vodka cranberries.
I know some of those people
In the moment, the night was damn fun and I didn't think I was making bad choices. I was called "sexy" by a hot man who had muscles for days, which only bolstered my belief that everything was going well.
Opening my eyes the next morning, however, was not fun nor sexy. To give you an idea of how bad it was, I was still wearing my shoes and Alex was staring at me with a horrified yet awestruck expression. I didn't even know his eyes could get that wide.
Al got the kids out of the house all morning so I could suffer in peace. He came back to check on me and timidly asked if we were still going to see Cats. I said "Hmrphsgh" so he picked up the phone and tried to give our Cats tickets away to half of Seattle. Everyone said, "No, we don't want to see Cats, not even for free."
I promised Alex I would rally so his dollars wouldn't go to waste. The plan was for Al to take the kids out for lunch, drop them at the babysitter's, come home, shower, and we'd get downtown to make the 2:00 showtime.
2:00 came and went and Al wasn't back. Calls to Al's cell weren't answered, calls to the babysitter confirmed my kids were not there. I entered an excruciating hangover/panic mode, which is when you're freaked out about the whereabouts of your loved ones but your head hurts so badly you can only sit limply on the couch like a person with no bones and cry.
Al finally answered his cell phone. I didn't know if I felt immense relief or immense anger. He said he'd taken the kids to the mall, where he'd lost track of time and left his cell phone in the car. Then I knew the answer was "anger."
Anyway, we missed most of the first half of Cats, ran into the theater about ten minutes before intermission. We took our seats right in the middle of the Jellicle Ball. Those damn cats were dancing all over the damn place and the audience members were clapping in unison and cheering. It was deafeningly loud and there were strobe lights involved.
Someone should notify Dante -- there's a tenth circle of hell. It's called "Cats with a hangover" and it's the most unbearable of them all.
Regardless how agonizing most of the performance was (Is Gus the Theater Cat's pirate bit really necessary? Sweet Jesus...) as soon as Grizabella opened her mouth to sing "Memory," I was a quivering mess. Oh, I cried. It was partially because of my emotionally turbulent day but it was also because she really hit those high notes.
Alex told me later Cats was worth it for those few minutes of "Memory." That's high praise coming from the guy who slept through the entire disappearance of Old Deuteronomy.
I will share some of the glory/misery that is Cats by embedding "Memory" below. As an added bonus, I've used the version that includes Grizabella, the former beautiful glamour cat, ascending into "the Heavyside Layer" on a giant tire. Good Lord, this musical is ridiculous.
If you can get over the fact it's a grown woman with a painted-on cat nose and whiskers, I think you'll realize "Memory" is still one of the best songs ever to come out of musical theater.
Hard alcohol -- it will NEVER HAPPEN again, until I forget all my memories and it happens again,