Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Aviator (3May05)

Though we planned to see one of our longer movies over the weekend, it didn't happen. I worked all day on Saturday, and I didn't get home until after 7. By that time, all I wanted was dinner, a Margarita, and a long night's sleep. So we decided to brave a long week night movie this week. We chose the mammoth Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator (weighing in at a super-bulky 170 minutes).

This week's Cheap Theater experience was a perplexing -- and seriously disturbing -- one. It's something that will most likely haunt me for years to come. And I'm not talking about the movie -- it wasn't all that memorable. I'm talking about what I saw before the movie started.

It wasn't really busy at the theater when we got there -- most likely because most of the evening's offerings had already started. Since there wasn't a line, we were early. In fact, when we got inside, they weren't even seating for The Aviator yet, so we took a seat on a bench just inside the door, where we had a great view of the concessions, the ticket-ripper's podium, the arcade, and the bathrooms.

I was studying the "Coming Soon" board when something strange caught my eye. I quickly glanced to the doorway to the bathrooms and then glanced back at the list of upcoming movies. It took a second to register what I'd just seen -- and when realization hit me, I did a double-take to confirm that I wasn't hallucinating.

"Holy crap!" I exclaimed, nudging Paul. "I think I just saw an old guy in short jean shorts and tall black books with heels!"

Now, if I had been sitting in the lobby of The Cheap Theater, just minding my own business, studying the case full of candy and waiting for my movie to start, and someone told me they'd just seen an old man in short shorts and tall black boots, I would most likely think that that person had serious issues that went well beyond poor eye-sight. And I'm sure that's exactly what Paul was thinking.

"Where?" Paul asked as he scanned the room.

"He just went into the bathroom," I replied (at which point he was probably thinking, Sure he did...).

"Are you sure it wasn't a woman?" he asked.

"Oh yeah. That was no woman," I told him.

"Well, then we'll just have to sit here and wait for him to come out," Paul said (most likely thinking, We're going to be sitting here for a heck of a long time).

So there we sat, staring at the doorway to the bathrooms. I stared for a long time, and even I was beginning to wonder if I'd been hallucinating. Maybe I need more sleep...or glasses...or a prescription... But apparently it takes a while to use the facilities in that kind of get-up. Or maybe he was detained by the other men in the bathroom, who blocked his exit so they could laugh at him. But eventually, there he came.

"See? I told you!" I exclaimed, relieved that there was no longer a straight jacket in my future.

I'd say he was in his late 50s or maybe his 60s. White hair, beer belly. He wore a white T-shirt and a jean jacket. From the waist up, he looked like he could have been Santa Claus incognito. But then there were the short-short denim shorts, accented with shiny black knee-high boots with what looked like three-inch heels.

Apparently, this Santa in half-drag was still waiting for the rest of his party (which, I could only imagine, included the bearded lady). So he casually leaned up against the wall beside the bathroom doorway with one knee bent, one heel against the wall -- the perfect Pretty Woman pose.

Women in the theater lobby turned their back to him so they could politely smother their laughter. I, too, turned away. I just couldn't watch. I glanced back just in time to see him meet up with a grandmotherly-looking woman who was dressed in perfectly normal, grandmotherly clothes. The look on her face showed no embarrassment, no horror. Instead, it seemed that, in her mind, her companion's choice of clothing for their trip to The Cheap Theater was totally normal.

I turned away to stifle another giggle.

"Is it safe to laugh now?" I asked Paul a few seconds later, when I figured they'd safely made it out the door.

"I don't know why not," Paul replied. "Everyone else is." And he was right. The whole lobby seemed to explode into giggles.

After that, even the goth boys who arrived to see Constantine, dressed in their best flowing black dresses, looked perfectly normal.

Once we got into our theater, things got a lot less interesting. The crowd around us wasn't nearly as fascinating as the spectacle in the lobby. I could tell stories about the girls who squeezed into our row about 30 minutes into the movie. (Maybe they were just hiding from someone, since they didn't actually pay attention to the movie -- they were, instead, having a conversation. The one next to me got a call on her cell phone and took her dear sweet time turning the phone off. And then they left about an hour before the movie ended.) I could also tell you all about the people around us, who fidgeted and yawned and sighed and whispered as the movie got longer and longer and longer -- but those stories would pale in comparison to the part-Santa-part-street-walker we encountered in the lobby, so I won't even bother.

2 Comments:

Blogger dgeter said...

lol, do you have aspirations to be a movie critic?

4:57 PM  
Blogger kdk said...

Actually, I have been for a few years now (I'm the editor in chief of the entertainment ezine NightsAndWeekends.com, and I'm an entertainment columnist for a paper in PA and IL).

The blog is my fun side project / sociology experiement. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

5:08 PM  

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