by Mike Pomaro
Watching a movie at Patrick's house is on the list of my favorite things in the world to do, somewhere between snuggling on the couch with my daughters and studying Targaryen bloodlines. This is how it usually goes down:
It starts with a text message from Patrick asking if I'm available to come over for a movie. In no time at all I'm out the door.
On the way I always stop at a McDonald's near Patrick's house to pick up a large Dr. Pepper, easy ice. It's not that Patrick doesn't offer me a drink when I get there, it's just that I picked up a Dr. Pepper on the way there once and I'm a creature of habit, so McDonald's it is.
I park my car in front of the Bromley household and start to walk up. It's usually about halfway up the driveway that I remember I'm wearing a Game of Thrones shirt, and I quietly curse myself. Maybe this time Patrick won't mention it.
Patrick answers the door and immediately mentions the shirt. Luckily, his two adorable children, Charlie and Rosie, come running up to greet me, temporarily stopping their father from making fun of me.
I say hello to Charlie and Rosie and follow them into the house. Now this is where things get tricky. My wife and I lovingly refer to what happens next as the Erika Vortex. Anyone who has spent any time on this site knows that Erika is a wonderfully kind person, but to experience Erika in person is something else entirely. She's the most welcoming person I've ever met and she makes it impossible to simply say hello to her. Before I know it, an hour has passed and Erika and I are giggling like the 12 year old girl I am deep inside. It takes Patrick dragging me away to break me free of the Vortex.
Into the basement we go.
With pizza in hand, and my butt in the seat, Patrick starts the movie.
Rarely have Patrick and I discovered a masterpiece having these movie nights. Most times, about five minutes in, Patrick will sigh and say something like, "We may have made a mistake." That's how I know I'm in for a fun night.
Early on one of us, usually Patrick, will make a joke that then becomes a running joke throughout the movie. This will be something like a voice we've assigned to an actor, one that'll we'll do for the next 90 or so minutes.
At one point I'll bust out an impression in the hopes that it'll make Patrick laugh. The thing is, I'm not very good at impressions. My trick is to sound just enough like the person I'm impersonating, and to hit you with the impression when you're not expecting it. The element of surprise makes it sound much more impressive than it actually is.
At various points throughout the movie, Patrick will hit me with all sorts of trivia. "See that guy playing the mailman? He went on to direct Air Bud 3." IMDB goes to Patrick to look stuff up. He's amazing.
When the movie is over, we tend to put on another one and sometimes a third. If it weren't for a need to eventually sleep, I'd watch movies in that basement until the morning.
After cleaning up after ourselves and heading upstairs, I turn to say goodbye to Erika. She's usually grading papers on the couch. I say that I must be leaving right away, but I just wanted to quickly say so long to her.
An hour or so later, I finally leave.
I can't possibly put into words how much fun these nights are for me and how much I cherish them. At the end of the day, it's simple math: movies + pizza + Dr. Pepper + popcorn + Patrick = my favorite tradition.
Thank you for these movie nights and thank you for being a wonderful friend.
Happy birthday, Patrick.