Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Heat Was On

Yesterday, I took my mom to see The Heat.

Surely you don't think that's all there is to tell. Nothing is ever that simple when the two of us go out on the town. First of all, we give that movie a glowing recommendation. It's not for the folks who don't like pottymouths, but it IS hilarious. Besides, we saw it for only $4 a ticket, the first showing of the day. That's a bargain. Also, it was time to renew my AMC movie rewards card for $12. But get this! By renewing, I got $10 free at the concession stand. So it only cost me $2 to renew. AND that gets me upgrades and rewards over the next year. But I'm not here to Alec Baldwin/Capitol One for AMC. I'm here to share our full movie-going experience with you.

The show was at 11:15. Normally, I like to get to the movies about 30 minutes before showtime. That pretty much guarantees me my back row seats of choice. However, the last several times we've gone to a morning showing, there was just a smattering of patrons in our theater. So this time, we arrived a scant 15 minutes before the start time. The parking lot was half full! Mom and I scurried to the door. A woman and her teenage daughter beat us to the ticket-taker. One of these days, I'm going to be able to keep up with Mom.

That teenage ticketmeister took his own sweet time. People were lined up getting snacks. I tapped my foot and willed TickyPickySavvy to get with the program. I told Mom I wished we had arrived earlier. TPS fiddled around with my card. Told me it was time to renew, even though a couple weeks ago he told me I had a month left. "Yes. Do it now. I'll renew." For the love of festival seating, do it NOW. Then TPS couldn't quite figure out which part of the ticket to stuff in that metal box, and which part to hand us, and how to explain about my Rewards card. Seems that the computer won't show I renewed, but if I showed the counter help my ticket stub, they would know. Sure. Gimme the tickets! He didn't even tell us which of the four theaters harbored our feature.

Mom asked if I was getting snacks. She, herself, does not partake. Heavens no. That would be a waste of money. She does not appreciate the full movie-going experience. But she sure likes to take home a giant bag of popcorn and munch it in the car and have it later while watching her Cardinals on TV. So I always get the large bag that comes with a refill, just for her. Shh...don't let her know that. Before evil AMC bought out Kerasotes, ALL sizes were refillable. Not so now. Anyway, I told Mom that first, we had to secure our seats. We rushed willy-nilly about the four-plex, finding The Heat in the last theater we looked at.

MY SEAT WAS UNPICKED! We sat down in the next-to-last row. A four-seater. I debated on moving back one, but decided we were good. I left Mom to hold the seats while I went out for popcorn and soda. Of course Mom did not want any. The popper was covered in bottom crumbs, so I took a detour to the bathroom. Best to be proactive. The Heat is almost two hours long. I went back to check on Mom. Three women had sat down in the row right in front of us! Not at the end of their eight-seat row. RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! Mom asked if I wanted to move back. No. We're already set. Somebody worse could move in front if we moved back. Perhaps a contingent of wide-shouldered, big-haired pro wrestlers who really love Sandra Bullock.

The previews had already started, with sound, even, and it was 11:15. I went back for my snacks. The popper was popping like a champ. Just before I rounded the candy rack to get in line at the only side of the counter that was open...five dudes got ahead of me. You know that that means. First of all, they were there for that Man of Steel movie. Secondly, they were each going to pay individually. Because they're dudes. We inched forward. At the last minute, two dudes decided they weren't all that hungry. They stepped out of line. Two others just got drinks. The last got a little combo. The popper's last kernels cascaded onto the fluffy hot popcorn mountain. The timing was perfect.

I showed the girl my ticket and Rewards card. Refused the soda upgrade, because a large cup is too unwieldy. And I asked her three times which bag was the refillable popcorn bag. She said the large, even though two weeks ago they gave us the bucket. She filled my soda. AND HANDED ME A LARGE POPCORN THAT WAS ALREADY IN A BAG ON THE SHELF BEHIND HER! The horror! No way was I going to pay their exorbitant prices for stale popcorn. Much to the chagrin of the line behind me, I asked, "Why do I have to get THAT bag of popcorn? I don't want one off the shelf. I want fresh popcorn. Can't I get it bagged out of the popper?"

"This IS fresh popcorn."

"Not out of the popper. I've been waiting for it to pop. Can't I get a bag out of the popper?"

"Sure." Her mouth said yes, but her eyes and shoulders disagreed. Then she rang it up and said, "That will be fifty cents." Haha! I got my fresh popcorn AND my $10 off. High from my victory, I returned to the theater. There was a weird man in the seat behind mine. Mom said, a bit too loudly, "Do you want to move to a different row?" I shook my head and handed her the popcorn while I manipulated the flipping seat. The weird guy behind me sighed. He got up and went four rows down. Yeah! Victory number two for Val and her mom. Seriously. What kind of weird bald middle-aged guy goes to see a Sandra Bullock movie by himself and sits in the back row? No weirdo I want behind me, that's for sure.

Twenty minutes and ten previews later, our movie started. A woman and a man with a cane came in and sat behind us. Oh, well. They knew what they were getting into. It just meant that Mom and I could not talk during the movie, across the empty seat that held our purses, the large popcorn, and my soda. I don't know why I worried about being considerate, because about ten minutes later, one of those two people in the only row behind us dumped an entire soda onto the concrete floor. It must have been the extra-large keg nearly the size of a popcorn bucket. The sound was like Niagara Falls. I wouldn't be surprised if our shoulders were coated with the spray. The guy with the cane who was directly behind me said, "Did you get any on you?" And he was not talking to me. Throughout the movie, every time I shifted in my chair and moved my feet, it was like my tractiony New Balance soles had been replaced with tiny Bambi hooves that scrabbled to gain purchase on an icy pond. Of course neither back-row dweller told the usher about their accident, at that time, or as they walked past him after the show was over.

I dumped the dregs of the popcorn in the wastebasket, and got in line with my empty bag for Mom's refill. She got right in line with me, like a supervisor. Normally, she waits against the lobby wall. The girl on the other end of the counter that had tried to foist stale popcorn on me disappeared. One minute she was there, then she was gone. Her line still waited hopefully. The guy serving our line finished up with the lady and little girl ahead of us, and went to the other end of the counter. Darn that girl clerk and her spiteful, revengy ways! I had bested her fair and square, but she Even-Stevened me right back. The guy clerk saw the bag I put on the counter. "Is that all you need, a refill?" I nodded. "I'll come get it for you." He pushed the soda filler button and scooped up Mom's fresh popcorn from the popper. She handed me my purse, and was crunching away before we were even out the door.

I don't know why we can't have a normal, everyday outing without added drama. At least Mom left her tiny phone in the car.


  1. I think the original single guy that sat behind you (and then moved) was planning on having a hot time of a different kind...

  2. What an experience. I can't even imagine taking my mother to the movies. She'd talk out loud through the whole thing and criticize everything I put in my mouth.

  3. Even a movie gets complicated for you!

    I want to see that one.

  4. Saw The Heat yesterday. It was aso funny! I usually have people near me who leave their purses and ask me to watch them. WTH?

  5. Val and Mamma--rhymes with drama. You two are an untapped reality show.

  6. Sioux,
    That's what worried me. I have encountered his kind before. It is not something I like to remember.

    I think I might have sat behind you one time.

    If you're a fan of the F-word, you'll be as happy as a pig in effin' S-word. It's hilarious. And when you see Melissa McCarthy extricating herself from a tight parking spot, you are seeing Val on an ordinary day.

    Purses, indeed. I'm going to beat Sioux to this one, and declare, "You could get a story out of that." Because I know Sioux realizes your need for ideas, since you rarely have any submissions to send out. Maybe you could leverage this into a TV series! "Purse-Snatcher, She Wrote." Then you don't have to commit murders in order to join a women's crime-writers' group.

    Get back to me if middle-aged bald men all alone start sitting behind you. That series would be on a different channel.

    Yes, all we need are the cameras following us 24/7. Hope the crew likes expired food. Mom has a pantry full of stuff she likes to feed people. I hope our show is not in the same time slot as Linda's. Larceny is more exciting than Near-Death By Large Beverage and Strong-Arming the Popcorn Girl.