Hubs and I used to go to the movies every week, pre-child. We would grab a cocktail before the main event, pay $20 for popcorn (okay, it’s a slight exaggeration) and sometimes sneak into a second show to make it a double feature (Did I just admit to the movie-theater equivalent of shoplifting?)
It was one of our favorite pastimes (going to the movies, not shoplifting). We had a small TV at home and enjoyed watching flicks on the big screen right after they were released, for the graphics, sound and to avoid being subjected to spoilers. Not to mention, we loved the experience. It was our weekly date night.
Well, after having Babyface, our date nights have decreased to about once every three months. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess, and we’re lucky we have local grandparents to Babyface-sit (I know some moms who haven’t been to the movies in years, so I will zip my mouth about the frequency, right about here). Because we go to the movies less frequently, I’m more aware of my surroundings. And, when it’s that time of the month and Aunt Flow, my monthly bill, has decided to tag along, I’m more aware of the annoyances.
On Saturday, we (all three of us: hubs, me and Aunt Flow) were lucky enough to buy three hours of free time to catch a flick. I say, “buy” because the “price” is listening to the grandparents comment on my parenting skills and decisions for about 15 minutes (rounding down). A small price to pay, I guess. Mom and Dad, you want to feed her Kraft singles and chocolate as a snack, go ahead. Mom and Dad, you want to let her watch an hour of Barney, so you can take a rest, then be my guest. It’s another time when I have to zip my mouth, just so I can exhale with hubs for a few hours. As Rush says in Bravado, “You will pay the price, but you will not count the cost (sanity).”
Since the movie had been out for a few weeks, we figured it would be empty. Nowadays, movies fly in and out of theaters in about a month (Or, only a couple of weeks, if it’s a “Rotten Tomato”). We decided to purchase our tickets at the venue to avoid the online service charge. Of course, we forgot it was a rainy day and that everyone would flock to the theater to avoid holiday shopping or a lack of anything better to do. Our first mistake.
When we got to the theater, it was a madhouse. The ticket line was overflowing out of the stanchions. We could tell people were pushing forward, not obeying personal space, just to get within the dividers or “the safe zone”. We never opt for the lines with human-ticket takers because they always seem more chaotic. Our second mistake.
We opted to do our norm and head for the machines that the completely non-technical moviegoers avoid. One machine was out of service, due to a lack of paper (if the theater is that busy, then all of our $10.50 tickets should pay for a full-time new paper installer, right? There should be someone standing next to the machines with a roll of ticket paper, right?). Then, the second machine wouldn’t register an entry (we watched three people try before we eliminated the possibility of human error). We, finally, caught on and stood in two separate lines, thinking we were about to be inducted into Mensa for our decision.
By the third try (with faster humans), we were in a line where the machine was working and had paper. Yay, for us, the third time was a charm. When we reached second place in line (we could almost taste and smell our tickets), the man in front of us proved my non-technical theory incorrect. I watched from the side with sufficient personal space (I have 20/10 vision, so I pretty much have bionic eyes. My vision makes up for my poor and selective hearing).
First, the guy couldn’t figure out how to find the movie he wanted to see. Aunt Flow was about ready to give him a lesson in reading and phonics, when his daughter set him straight. Then, he couldn’t figure out that there were two people in his party. 1 and 2, Mister Clueless. Not complicated. Again, his daughter set him straight. Then, there was the concept of looking at the credit card-direction picture and swiping his card. He tried three times, in all of the wrong ways, until it finally registered. He should thank his daughter for collecting their tickets because his credit card number was about to be imprinted on his forehead and his tickets shoved down his throat, if he experienced another human malfunction, courtesy of Aunt Flow. She doesn’t have the social patience that normal humans do.
We finally got to the front of the line and my husband didn’t walk away with our credit card numbers stamped on his forehead (lucky guy). We had our tickets in hand and headed up the escalator. People needed to zoom by us. It was like they were trying to catch the last flight out of a nuclear, hot zone. Elbows and arms were flying, with my side as the receiver. I had to restrain Aunt Flow, so she wouldn’t trip them.
By the time we entered the theater, there were several seats available. Again, the movie was three weeks out and I was pretty sure we’d be in the free zone for comfortable and quiet viewing. No such luck.
Two kids that I was sure would be hooting and hollering at all of the wrong moments in the movie, just to tighten Aunt Flow’s fists, sat right behind us. We moved to save them from a good slugging and to keep Aunt Flow safe from Security. We moved to two side seats, where there was a single woman covered in concession goodies, quietly chomping away at popcorn, smiling behind us. What the heck could she possibly do to annoy Aunt Flow? Mistake number 248 (I had lost count at this point).
About five minutes before the movie starts, I always relieve my post-pregnancy bladder. Almost all mothers do it. It keeps us from missing the good parts and forcing our spouses or friends to miss even more good parts, by giving us a recap of what we missed. When I got to the self-flushing bathroom, all of the empty stalls had either been infected with puddles of urine on the floor or splashes of urine on the seats. Aunt Flow whispered to me, “Is this the men’s restroom? Maybe we should go re-check the sign.”
I told her to shut-up and pee, so we wouldn’t miss the previews. We finished up our business and headed back to the theater, which was now slightly full. The previews started and my timing couldn’t have been more perfect (I deleted about 100 mistakes from the total count for this). The previews were perfect. I caught my first glimpse of World War Z (as you all know, I love my zombie flicks). I caught my first big-screen glimpse of Les Miserables. Aunt Flow and I were crying through the whole thing.
Then, the Action movie began and the woman behind us decided to cackle loudly at the most inappropriate times. Her cackle was so loud that I couldn’t hear some of the movie dialogue. I let it go and I contained Aunt Flow. Then, she decided to put her feet up about an inch away from my husband’s head. He wanted to let it go, but Aunt Flow said, “Uh, uh, no way! She better move her feet before I pull them off and clock her in the face with them!”
I kindly asked her to move her feet and she obliged, all while cackling. Then, she spent about 20 minutes (not an exaggeration) opening plastic wrappers, which smelled of chocolate, taunting Aunt Flow. I had to contain her and keep her from swiping the tiny treasures of mouth-watering goodness.
We got through the rest of the movie without there being any bars or bail involved. I had to sit on Aunt Flow for two hours to keep her mouth shut, but at least we got out without any trouble. Wish we could have had a date night sans a nasty, third wheel.