Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pride and Prejudice (14March06)

This week, I was once again flying solo at The Cheap Theater, while my darling husband was on a business trip to Arizona (poor guy). Since my first solo trip had gone so well, I was excited about doing it again. After a long day of work in a quiet house, I made myself dinner, packed my knitting bag, and headed out the door.

This week, I decided to see Pride and Prejudice -- because, as a former English geek, I am bound by law (or perhaps just duty) to see it. Yet I'd feel guilty for the rest of my life if I made my husband (who's both male and a computer geek) sit through it.

This time, though, there was no miraculous good parking spot waiting for me in the parking lot. And I actually had to wait to buy my ticket. Inside, everyone was buying $5 sodas and $10 popcorn to go with their 50-cent tickets. I actually contemplated it, too, for a second -- but then I decided against it and turned to face the ticket ripper. There she was, at the end of the long, empty hallway, 30 feet away. She focused her attention on me as I took the Walk of Shame -- me, a young-ish woman, at the theater all by herself. It felt like an eternity. It felt like I was moving in slow motion. But then I reached her. She ripped my solitary ticket and directed me to the first theater.

While the theater I was in last time had that one back-row seat that seemed to be waiting just for me, this time wasn't quite as perfect. The movie was in one of the bigger theaters -- one with two aisles. I chose one side and walked in, to find that all the prime back-row seats were already occupied. I was about to walk down the aisle a bit when I realized that all the people around me were loud and obnoxious, yelling at each other from rows away. So I turned around and walked out the door and back into the door on the other side of the theater. I took a seat on the aisle, a few rows down.

When I first sat down, I was a bit hesitant. On the screen was an animated musical number -- and I began to wonder if I'd walked into the wrong theater. I could have sworn that I'd seen Pride and Prejudice on the sign above the door, but I could be wrong. This wasn't a movie that I recognized. Perhaps I'd walked in on a private party.

I stayed for a couple minutes, contemplating what to do -- and then the cartoon ended. Suddenly, it occurred to me that the theater had actually changed its pre-show entertainment -- a cartoon instead of the same trivia questions they'd been showing since, I think, October. There were new commercials, too -- and I settled in and watched them excitedly.

What can I say? I'm easily amused.

For a while, I was a little hesitant pulling out my knitting in the middle of the theater -- but then I thought again. After all, this was a Jane Austen movie. It would fill up with Cat Ladies -- the prissy literary types who live in a dark apartment with their cats and their collection of BBC DVDs. Of all people, they should understand the value of knitting. So I got right to work.

As expected, the audience was pretty predictable. Around me were seated the following:

1) A few young couples -- the male half of which is obviously still trying to impress the female half.

2) Frumpy middle-aged women, seated alone, munching popcorn.

3) Girls. Lots of 'em. I'm guessing English majors. And if the rest of them were anything like the two seated ahead of me, they spent the entire movie whispering and giggling.

4) Men who teach English. The guy with the cowboy hat who climbed over top of me to take a seat obviously fell into this category. Clearly a literary type who found the entire movie highly amusing.

There were also a few others -- like the scruffy-looking old guy who appeared to be a "poet" -- though he's really just an out-of-work English professor. But what it all comes down to is that I, with my knitting needles working away through the movie, was nowhere near the most unusual creature in the theater.

I really enjoyed the movie -- and the people around me made me laugh. But that's because I did my time in literary academia. These are my people. I've seen Jane Austen movies. I've loved Jane Austen movies. Secretly, I still do. But as I looked around the theater, I also realized that the movie -- and those who sat there with their loud literary-elite chortles (the ones that say "I'm laughing right now -- but the joke is probably far to clever for you to understand") would have scared the crap out of my computer geek husband. The Cat Ladies and Professors take some getting used to -- much like the people at a Star Trek convention do.

After the movie ended, I went home and did what every good Jane Austen loving lit geek would. I poured myself a glass of wine and finished up my knitting before curling up with some good literary fiction.

All that was missing were the cats.


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