Free Pizza?

By Katiedid Langrock

January 31, 2015 5 min read

Over the past month, I have been trying to keep up the pace with my New Year's resolution of doing one thing a day that I find interesting. The sad reality is that I've already run out of ideas. You can only experience Taco Bell's fourthmeal so many times until you have to admit there is nothing interesting or healthy about it. Even that one time I got locked in the Taco Bell with the employees as they were closing proved to be uninteresting, as the manager refused to engage in small talk. Or offer complimentary churros.

So last week, void of a single creative or interesting thought, I did what any rational person would do: I told my husband it was all his fault and that he had to find our fun activity for the evening.

He returned with an ad for free pizza.

Is there a microchip inserted into men at birth that alerts them to pizza at any and all times? Sometimes I think we are all undergoing a secret science experiment, in which male babies are taken into a sensory enhancement room where nothing but the scent of mozzarella and tomato is pumped in. And maybe some oxygen.

Don't get me wrong; I love a good pie. All pie, really, but pizza is definitely in my top two. Top three. Top 10. Anyway, I like pizza. And because I have endlessly declared this month that come hell or high water, I am ready for adventure, even a cheesy one, I said yes.

That was before I realized the free pizza was downtown. Ugh. Is there no discounted deliciousness in suburbia?

We strapped our toddler into the car seat, pulled onto the highway and screeched to a halt.

I foolishly figured we'd lose the traffic eventually. Clearly, the lack of fumes from never going out anymore has destroyed my brain cells. As the drive dragged on for over an hour, it was evident that this parade of music-blaring vehicles was headed into the city. They must have heard about the free pizza, too.

It's a weird sensation when faced with the realization that you've been locked in parenthood prison for so long that you've forgotten that there will be traffic going into the city on a Friday night. Oh, yeah, it's Friday. People, like, do stuff. Like, they go out. How odd.

Ninety minutes after leaving our house, we were waiting in a long line looping outside the huge, new, posh-looking downtown pizza joint. The place looked swanky on the inside and smelled delicious from the outside, but it was another 50-minute wait until we could experience it for ourselves.

As we waited in line while my son played with his toy bus on the city sidewalk, one thing was perfectly clear: The city had changed. We were in an area that had just a few years ago been barren. Now it was booming with activity. Men and women dressed up for an expensive night out. Hipsters, punks, folks in their early 20s and recent retirees all walked the streets of this now-bustling metropolis. How had so much changed since I worked here a few years ago? How had so much changed in the two years since I had my child and stopped coming to the city, you know, ever? Suddenly, this was the place to be, and I was glad to be in it — toddler picking at gum on the city sidewalk and all.

Once inside, after exfoliating our son with Purell, we were treated to personal pies. Not the kid-sized ones that leave you hangry but large, gooey, delicious personal pans. We were famished after our harrowing trip through traffic, and it hit the spot. Satiated, I looked around at the packed pizza joint and at the line still growing outside its walls. We were the only people there with a small child. And rather than embarrassment, it gave me a sense of pride — a sense that we were doing something right by getting out of the house.

It took us only a half-hour to get home. On a Friday night, all the cars are going into the city, and we had been one of them.

If you drive two hours to get free pizza, is the pizza still free? When the experience is so rich, my answer is "yes."

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