Monday, January 16, 2006

Waiting... (14Jan06)

This weekend, we went all out. Since we had a lot of Cheap Theater movies to catch up on -- after our nearly four-week absence -- we decided to catch a movie on Saturday night. Sure, that meant paying a whopping $1.75 per ticket instead of the Cheap Night $.50. But it's the New Year. We deserve to splurge a bit, don't you think?

We decided to see Waiting... because there was no early showing -- and if we went to a 9:45 movie on a Tuesday night, that would cause us to be out past our Bed Time. And that definitely would not do. So it was late when we arrived in The Cheap Theater parking lot. People were already leaving after catching the early shows. Still, there was a line for the ticket booth -- which, if you'll recall, is outside. If you'll also recall, it is January in Ohio. Thus, standing outside to wait for movie tickets is not a pleasant experience. But hey, I once spent all night camped out under the stars in Michigan in February for Toad the Wet Sprocket tickets, so I'm pretty tough. I survived.

The ticket staff, incidentally, was in full Expensive Night Garb (meaning: their cheap suits). They were also especially polite. I now see what the extra $1.25 per ticket buys: politeness. It does not, however, buy chairs with newish springs or speakers that don't buzz through the entire movie.

Even though it was late, the lobby was packed. It was packed with people who seemed totally unfamiliar with Common Movie Theater Practices, the rules of which are as follows:

1) If you want snacks, get in the concession line.

2) If you didn't pee before you left home, go to the bathroom.

3) If you're waiting for a friend who forgot to pee before leaving home, sit on a bench or lean against a wall nearby.

4) If none of the above, directly proceed to the ticket-ripper, who will direct you to your theater (and, since you paid the extra $1.25, will also tell you to enjoy the show). DO NOT JUST STAND THERE. The lobby is a thru-way. No stopping, standing, or general dawdling is allowed.

Paul came quite close to picking up one especially small couple and throwing them out of his way. Like me, Paul does not tend to handle stupid people well. He also has no patience for people who get in his way.

Once we made it to our theater, which was in a corner so remote that it may have actually been located in Kentucky, we took our usual back-row seats. We took a few minutes to reacquaint ourselves with the theater, since it had been a while. We commented on the tiny size of the screen, as well as the interesting fact that, although we'd been away for a month, the ads and trivia questions on the screen were still the same as they'd been for the month or two before the holidays.

We hadn't actually had dinner that night (I'd be lying if I said, like I really want to, that we skipped dinner so we could afford the expensive movie tickets, but it was actually because we'd had a couple of orders of wings at about 4, while we were at Buffalo Wild Wings watching my college's basketball team get totally throttled by their rivals via satellite). So I mentioned popcorn, which got Paul thinking about popcorn -- and he eventually got up to buy us the $4.50 bucket.

I told you we splurged this weekend...

While Paul was gone, I took the chance to catch up on my people watching.

To my right, there was a couple conversing loudly in a foreign language (one that I could identify but won't reveal because people would instantly accuse me of being discriminatory toward [fill in blank] -- while I'm only making the point that I couldn't understand what they were talking about). Shortly after Paul came back with our dinner -- and right before the pre-movie commercials began -- the couple left. And I'm pretty sure they never came back. I've seen plenty of people walk out of movies before -- but never before the movie actually started. It was a first.

There was also an older woman seated by herself, across the aisle and a row or two ahead of us. She'd gotten there before us and was enjoying a soda and a small popcorn. Shortly after Paul left, she got up (presumably for a last-minute pit-stop), leaving her snacks behind.

While she was gone, a pack of Frat Boys arrived -- and, seeing the snacks left in the seat, took their seats in the next row instead. If you ask me, that was especially polite of these Frat Boys, who didn't toss the snacks aside or help themselves (though I did notice one of them eyeing the popcorn).

When the woman returned to her seat, she found the Frat Boys sitting ahead of her. She sat there for a minute or two, obviously quite flustered, then got out of her seat (this time taking her snacks with her) and moved two rows ahead, taking the aisle seat right in front of the Frat Boys (who were still on their best behavior). She then turned around and asked the Frat Boy behind her if he could see over her head. This, of course, was not a serious question, since she was much smaller than the Frat Boy behind her. Instead, it was supposed to be a catty remark, and the Frat Boys were apparently supposed to feel guilty for sitting in the row in front of a seat occupied by a soda and a bag of popcorn. Shame on them for not figuring out that, since it was a small popcorn, it obviously belonged to a rather diminutive older woman instead of, for instance, a large, smelly guy.

As Paul noted, "What was a woman that age doing seeing this movie by herself at this time of the night, anyway?"'s good to be back...


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