One of the cool things about being the wacky uncle (aka “man-child” aka “the boy who would not grow up”) is that you are generally acceptable as an adult that kids will allow themselves to be seen with.
This has been a special benefit to me with my nieces throughout the years, which in turn has allowed me to spend time with them doing relatively cool stuff.
Case in point, yesterday. My two nieces (who are now beyond the “kids” designation and fast entering the “young woman” stage) joined me for lunch (PF Chang’s), some ambling through Barnes & Noble (my younger niece still had a gift card for the store that she got from me who knows how many years ago) and finally off to see the extremely long and loud “Dark Knight Rises” movie.
This is sort of tradition with the three of us on most blockbuster summer movies. We’ve seen all three Batman’s and plenty other big budget films. We also go see oddball stuff like Coraline. It’s usually a fun day that starts off with them stopping at my house first.
Having some modicum of success, both professionally and financially, makes it more agreeable for them to talk about various life issues and ruminate about the future. It may be that my previous success is what allows my wackiness to be considered more of an affectation than a mental disorder (though I challenge you to truly tell the difference).
I try to keep the preachiness down to a minimum and lecturing is right out. I listen and offer an opinion (if asked). More often than not, I simply poke fun at them, which irritates them but does make the point that life is not really as melodramatic as it feels between 18 and 21 years old.
We’re already planning our next movie and munchies extravaganza. There’s some interest in the “Expendables 2”, but though I enjoyed the first film (much to my surprise) on cable, I’m not convinced it’s worth $7-$10 a head to see in the theater.
And, my elder niece is already plotting for next year’s Megacon, another annual event we do together. Last year was a trip (figuratively as well), driving up to Orlando with three teenage girls. The things they say! (You can check out some highlights in the posts titled “Mega Memories” under the “comic books” category). She is thinking of bringing a boy along this time. Whether that’s in addition to the three girls or replacing one remains to be seen. March can’t come too soon!
Oh, the movie? I liked it better than the middle one (The Dark Knight), since it was more about Batman and less about the villain (terrific as Heath Ledger’s performance was). I did laugh silently at the classic movie theatrics that apparently even “big name” directors can’t get away from (such as the special item falling just out of the reach of the person needing it desperately…I think that’s vague enough to not need a spoiler warning).
I hope I can avoid those conventions in my own writing, but I wonder if that’s simply the way Hollywood works. I suppose I can worry about that if someone picks up the option on my book.
Now THAT would be a movie for the three of us to go watch!