Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Chicken Little (7March06)

This week was another one of those running-around-like-a-chicken-with-its-head-cut-off (pun not entirely intended) Tuesdays. In the afternoon, I called the eye doctor's office to ask if our new glasses were in yet. For a second, I felt guilty for calling -- because they said they'd call us. But then the receptionist got back on the line (after putting me on hold for so long that I'd had enough time to have a snack, go through my recipes, plan dinner, and get some chicken out of the freezer) and told me they were, in fact, in and ready to be picked up before 7. So I called Paul, and we synchronized our watches. He'd be home -- and I'd have dinner ready -- by 1745. We'd eat and get out of the house by 1815ish. We'd go to the eye doctor, pick up the glasses, get them all tried on and fitted, and be on our way to The Cheap Theater by 1845.

But things went a little too smoothly -- and by about 6:20, we were sitting in the car in our new specs, with tons of time to spare.

"Now what?" Paul said as we glanced around the parking lot.

"Let's go to Pier 1," I suggested. It was, after all, right next door. So we got back out of the car and wandered in.

It's been five years since I last owned a pair of glasses that I could actually wear in public -- and I'd forgotten what it feels like to walk around with curvy lenses over my nearly-blind eyes. It's a strange feeling -- and it actually made me sick in a way that I can only liken to motion sickness. I'm used to contacts. I'm not used to lenses that (though they look really cool) take away your peripheral vision and make the ground look all curvy. I had a hard time walking a straight line. So Pier 1 probably wasn't the best choice -- with all the glass items around and all. But, fortunately, despite a close call or two, I got out without breaking anything. But we still had extra time to kill -- so we ended up wandering around the bookstore by The Cheap Theater before going in.

Seeing kids' movies at The Cheap Theater always makes me a little nervous. I have, after all, had some bad experiences with it. And I know that parents love Cheap Night. Heck, if I had kids, I would, too. Heck, I love it anyway. But I know how rowdy it can get -- and this week was really no exception.

By the time we bought our ticket (Paul threw the poor ticket girl off by handing her a twenty) and made it past the painfully-bored-looking ticket-ripper (who obviously thought he was much too cool for his job and his candy-cane striped uniform), the theater already looked (and sounded) like Chuck E. Cheese on a Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, little kids like to sit up front -- not in the back row -- so we took our seats in the very back corner.

Once settled in, I looked up at the screen and realized that I couldn't see it. I knew there was a trivia question there, but the words were a blur. Needless to say, I immediately freaked out just a tiny bit, worried that there was something wrong with my glasses. The slide changed, but I still couldn't make out a thing.

Out of the corner of my eye, in my blurry peripheral vision, I could see Paul adjusting his new glasses. I turned to look at him and noticed that he looked just as perplexed as I felt.

"The screen's blurry, isn't it?" I said, and we both breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't the glasses. It was the yahoos in the projection room.

Sure enough -- a few minutes later, the projector lens was adjusted, and we could see again. I felt much better.

I can't really say that the rest of the experience was all that bad. Sure, the standard kid chatter was constant -- and pretty loud (so loud that I sometimes couldn't hear the movie) -- but I guess that's to be expected when the theater has a 2:1 kid-to-adult ratio. We were just lucky that the kids in front of us were pretty well-behaved. I'm sure the experience wouldn't have been quite so positive had we been sitting in the middle of the theater, but it was just fine back in our dark little corner.

As is often the case at kids' movies, the biggest distraction wasn't the constant hum of kiddie conversation. It was the one dad, on the other side of the theater, who kept laughing a deep, loud belly laugh over top of the kids' giggles. It was so loud that I kept waiting for the kids around him to shush him. It didn't happen -- but wouldn't it have been funny if it had?

Next Tuesday, Paul's going to be in Very Important Meetings, so I'll be on my own. I've already decided on the movie -- Pride & Prejudice -- because it's a movie that I'd feel guilty if I made Paul watch it. While I'm at it, who knows...I may just take myself out for dinner at the pizza buffet, too.

But one thing is for sure -- I'll definitely bring my knitting.


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