Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Weather Man (20 Dec05)

Okay, people. I realize that Christmas is only a few days away. I'm excited, too. But, please -- CHILL OUT ALREADY!

There was mass hysteria at The Cheap Theater this week. The parking lot was packed -- just like it was during summer vacation. Then again, maybe it was even more packed this week. At least during the summer there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep kids occupied during those long summer-vacation evenings. Now, however, it's frickin' freezing.

The Suits were almost non-existent this week -- except for one poor, frazzled-looking guy attempting to scoop popcorn without getting butter stains on his jacket and another who jumped in to help out our usual ticket-ripper. Other than that, the Cheap Theater staff was decked out in their festive candy-cane-striped shirts, attempting to successfully herd the crowds.

The lobby was packed, just like the parking lot -- and Paul raced through the crowds while I ran behind, trying to keep up without getting trampled or beaten.

And it was LOUD. Deafeningly so.

We made it to our besuited ticket-ripper stand-in, who was heavily guarded by security staff, who were, I'm guessing, on mob patrol. Yet the Suit still found time to politely say, "You're welcome," when I thanked him for ripping my ticket and directing me to my theater. So polite, those Suits.

The theater was already starting to fill up when we rushed in, hoping to escape the angry Cheap Theater mob. Fortunately, the back row was still available, so we quickly slid into our seats, which, also fortunately, did not throw a spring when we sat down.

Inside the theater, it was just as loud as it had been in the lobby. People were chattering and giggling so loudly that I couldn't even hear the tasteful theater music. And since we'd come to see an R-rated movie, these weren't kids, giggling about their Barbies or whatever it is that's cool this Christmas. There weren't even any kids in the theater because their parents couldn't get a babysitter. Apparently, the whole theater was excited about their Barbies...or perhaps their new X-Box.

As more and more people crammed into the theater, it got louder and louder. Three people ahead of us were obviously so filled with the Christmas spirit (or at least some kind of spirit) that they could hardly contain themselves. The woman seated in the middle had a serious case of the giggles, which lasted through the entire movie -- often rearing its ugly head at times that weren't particularly funny.

If I were her, I'd be more careful. This close to Christmas, Santa's watching pretty closely -- and if he happens to be a movie lover, I'm sure he gives people like her lumps of coal in their stockings.

Then again, maybe not. Because, as a matter of fact, Santa was in the theater with us, and he wasn't particularly considerate. He wandered in with the Mrs. right before the show began. A portly guy with a big white beard. But he had a rugged suede coat on -- and a big cowboy hat -- making him look like the Santa who regularly appears on the Christmas cards you get from your friends in Albuquerque. He sat down toward the back of the theater and removed his coat, to reveal a bright red sweater. But he left the big, obnoxious hat on, despite the fact that the girl seated behind him was, in no way, going to be able to see through him.

Shame on you, Santa! You've been naughty this year!

NOTE: My movie-going schedule will be somewhat unpredictable for the next few weeks. I'm sure I'll be hitting the theaters a few times over the holidays (especially since The Cheap Theater just released a bunch of great movies!), but I'll be out of the country for a week after New Year's. Regular movie-going will resume again on January 17th. Until then, may your holidays be happy, and may the guy ahead of you in the theater be short and silent.


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