Nobody gets outta this place without singing the blues

Adventures in Babysitting

Ten seconds.

Pick a movie that could be the story of your life. Mine? Adventures in Babysitting, starring Elisabeth Shue. If you haven’t seen this movie, don’t rent it. Buy it. I hear there’s a remake on the way, but I can’t imagine anything being as good as the original.

Adventures in Babysitting is the story of life’s little habit of going from bad to worse.

Cry or laugh. Either way we have to get through circumstances. Our earthly problems never fade away forever, and just when we think we’re cruisin’, that’s when get a flat—kind of like what happens in the movie.

Here’s the movie’s premise. Chris Parker plans a romantic evening with her boyfriend, but when her date backs out, she’s stuck babysitting three bratty kids. Chris’s crazy best friend goes off the deep end, runs away to the city, and then calls Chris to rescue her. What else can Chris do but load the kids into her mom’s car and take off on an adventure?

Along the way, the car gets a flat, and Chris and the kids hitch a ride in a tow truck but end up at chop shop. They befriend an amiable car thief, who tries to save them, but they find themselves moving targets of ruthless
thugs. Their only means of escape is to duck in a back alley door, the entrance to a hardcore Chicago blues club.

The four find themselves on stage, and as blues guitarist Albert Collins tells them, “Nobody gets outta this place without singing the blues.”

Sometimes that’s all any of us can do. When life goes from bad to worse, we have to sing. And sometimes the singing or the situation is so bad, we have to laugh to keep from crying.

Chris Parker and I have a lot in common.

Just recently I found myself lost in a big city with my crazy friend. I had signed up for a SCBWI conference as a writer and talked my illustrator friend into going to share the costs and the fun. We had Saturday evening free, so we signed with other conference attendees for a walking tour around downtown Nashville. We rode to the tour with one of the organizers, whom we had met moments before. She could have been a sociopath for all we knew.

The tour took us to several legendary sites, including the Capitol and the oldest church downtown. But then our guide led us to the notorious Printer’s Alley, the site where a man named Skull ran his business and walked his painted pink poodles until the day he was murdered.

Everyone in our tour took turns taking pictures of the entrance to Skull’s now defunct club. My friend I obliged several passers-by and took their photos so that they’d have a souvenir of their trip. We were so pleased to help others that we lost track of our group. They left us.

Panic.

We were lost on Printer’s Alley with no clue how we got there and no clue how to get back to our hotel, which was too far away for walking.

But I remembered our tour guide saying the tour would end at the Ryman Auditorium. All we had to do was find it. My friend and I serpentined from one back alley to another and found our way to a main street. We could see our group standing in front of the Ryman, and we ran to them.

When we finally made it back to our hotel, we were famished. The polite man working the front desk showed us the hotel restaurant, the bar, and the tiny pantry/ convenience store. My friend headed straight for the pantry’s
freezer and Ben and Jerry’s.

But I was feeling rather sassy and proud of myself for having saved the day with my keen navigational senses. (My friend’s story may differ, but this is MY POV.) Anyway, when the man asked me what I wanted I slapped the
desk and smiled big and boldly said, “I want me some chocolate.”

Awkward silence. I cringed. I panicked.

For was it then I realized there was no smile on the man’s handsome, genteel dark brown face, emphasis on dark brown, the color of chocolate.

More awkward silence.

And then I babbled.

“You know what?” I said. “I really don’t think chocolate is such a good idea. I’ve had way too much chocolate lately. I like chocolate—don’t get me wrong. It’s just I’ve really been consuming the calories lately. I don’t
need chocolate. I don’t really want any chocolate. I think I’ll just skip the chocolate.”

I must have gone on and on for 15 minutes mumbling about chocolate. Every word that tumbled out of my mouth was the wrong word. I finally caught my breath and said, “You know what? I think I’ll just get a
bottled water.”

I crawled away from the counter, grabbed a Dasani from the pantry, dug a buck or two out of my pocket and crawled back to the desk.

“How much?” I squeaked.

“Go ahead. Take it,” the man said, smiling now.

“Really?” I squeaked.

He nodded. And I slunk into the elevator, where my friend awaited. By the time I explained the whole ordeal to her, we were laughing hysterically.

I was sooooo embarrassed. But considering all the other troubles life has had to offer, I have to admit, a little embarrassment is nothing—except reason for a good laugh. And who doesn’t need that every now and then? Rather than sweat the little situations, we should do what the man says—sing. Or laugh.

After all, nobody leaves this place without singing the blues.

Click on this Adventures in Babysitting clip for an added treat.

What movie is your “theme” movie? Please share your thoughts and a smile.