Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Neutralest 2.5 Hours Were Spent Here With You In the Dark

The Thevictorian family hauled their stubs to AMC movie theater this morning to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Only $5 a ticket before noon, you know! Of course we had to dig up some sock cash from the back yard for snacks (that were not hauled inside in my movie purse).

I would give you a movie review, but the goings-on around us were much more interesting. Not more interesting than the movie, mind you...more interesting than my review.

I thought we would arrive 30 minutes before showtime. Somehow Hick's estimate of the journey was shorter than the real thing. Which surprised me entirely. One would think he would have had those items reversed. So...we were only 20 minutes ahead of showtime. That meant that other people were already inside the theater! Thank Even Steven, nobody had taken our 4-row of seats in the back. Oh, two old ladies were in the very last row, also a 4, but ours was still available. I felt a little bit bad about sitting down in front of them, what with them having gotten there early to pick their seats (heh heh, I said pick their seats). I could almost hear their eyes rolling in their heads as we settled in.

The Pony had his nose out of joint because Hick dared to sit between us. Everybody knows the child comes between the parents. Besides, it's usually just The Pony and me. We are accomplished adjacent-seat-mates. It's like being one of those Hindu deities with multiple arms. We can juggle two sodas, popcorn, candy, cell phones, glasses, Kindle, mini-spiral-notebook, pen, car keys, Butter Buds, and Kleenex without speaking a word. Hick agreed to switch places when we went out for snacks.

We got back just in time for some lackluster previews. The Pony was especially all "No way!" about Vampire High. For a moment I thought Divergent looked promising. However, The Pony nixed that one as well. Nor was he impressed by 47 Ronin. Looks like we'll not be padding the pockets of AMC for a while.

Our feature presentation was about ten minutes underway when a lady came through the swinging doors. She stood there, jangling her keys. A signal, perhaps, to folks she was meeting. But no. She just stood. Then she came over towards us. Uh uh. Not happening. If she wanted a seat, she was going to have to scale the heights of Val Thevictorian and skootch over next to Hick. Val moves down the row for no latecomer. However...a rumble was not in the cards for me today, my friends. Lady-Come-Lately sat directly behind me. Oh, well. Let her peer through my lovely lady mullet for 2.5 hours minus ten minutes. Then she started jangling those confounded keys again. Like she was trying to make a baby look at the camera. I'm not sure what the other two old ladies thought about being trapped in their row. I couldn't hear they eyes rolling over the sound of those confounded jangling keys.

Don't think orbiting oculars and clashing metal were the only barrier to Val's full enjoyment. Our very own Hick made his contribution on the noise pollution front. After The Pony was done with the feedbag, he passed it to Hick. A noisier popcorn eater you'll never hear than Hick. He's one of those people who jam their ham-fisted hands into the bag, smashing all the kernels to confetti, then squeeze a palm-full like making a dry popcorn ball, and crush it onto his face area, herding it into his gaping maw. He sounded like Bigfoot stomping through a swimming pool full of cornflakes. Then The Pony eased into his line of melody, trying to open a cellophane bag inside the Cookie Dough Bites box. It's a good thing the sound was cranked up for our movie.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was the shortest 146-minute movie I've ever seen. The time did not drag. I almost squeezed out a tear at one certain scene. And then it was over! Only a couple of years to wait for the last movie. As the credits were rolling, a voice behind me jolted me out of my reverie.

"You're a much taller lady than I thought."

HUH? The Lady-Come-Lately dared to comment on the statuesqueness of Val, who was rightfully in her seat BEFORE Lady-Come-Lately came in and picked her seat (heh heh, did it again). Well, I never! The boldness of those Lately folks apparently knows no bounds. And THEN, Lady-Come-Lately had the nerve to place her hand upon my shoulder, lean over, and ask, "Is that your son?"

No. I just waltzed in here a mere nine minutes after showtime, and sat down by a random stranger. Like you. That's what I wanted to say. But I did not. I'm no common Lately.

"It's me. Lady Lately. Remember, I used to substitute? Where is your oldest boy going to school?"

Dear me. Lady Lately! Of course I remember her. It's just unfortunate that she was standing directly behind me in a dark movie theater. How uncoordinated of me not to see her clearly for recognition. Then I did feel kind of bad. Because I, in my own noncommittal way, harbor no ill will toward Lady Lately. She's a good egg. And her being a widder-woman and all, with her three strapping sons serving in various and assorted branches of the armed services, one of them even with that anagrammed entity that scans the skies for Santa every Christmas Eve, and ne'er-do-well intruders the other 364.

Sorry, Lady Lately. I DO remember you, and wish you well. I'll even forgive the key-jangling.

If you're not an old country music aficionado, you won't get the title, a line from Clint Black's "Walkin' Away."  My finest hour spent here with you in the dark, just before I saw the light.


  1. Mrs. C. and I always arrive early so we can grab the front row seats of the second seating area so we can put our feet up on the bar and not have anyone in front of us. People always come in late and ask us to move down and make space for them and i always refuse. You want a good seat, get there early like we do.

  2. Maybe you and the Pony should approach the community college about teaching a movie theater etiquette class. On second thought, the people who need to know wouldn't go.

  3. Next time, ditch Hick. Your movie experience will be greatly improved...

  4. I am always late for movies except fortunately the advertised start is always 15-20 minutes late due to all the commercials and previews.

  5. I'll bet my purse is bigger than your purse and my contraband is better. I was right there with you until I read,"...she was a wider woman..." and I thought, My goodness what did Val think about MY girth? My kids say I am round, now. Then...I reread that sentence. OH...widder woman. WHY doesn't she sub anymore? Too much jingling?

  6. Stephen,
    Hear, hear! A moving-refuser after my own self. At one overcrowded cinema event, the usher was actually asking couples to move to other rows so families could be seated together. Um. No. Why reward people for showing up after the picture has started, blocking the view of paying customers, acting all entitled because they toted their young 'uns who aren't going to remember the movie giving them the seats of their choice? I'm all for splitting up a family in these instances.

    We could spout our dogma at The Learning Annex. Offer popcorn and soda at outrageous prices. Keep the lights down low. And start 20 minutes after our scheduled class time.

    The sound quality, and the air quality in transit, would be greatly improved. But sometimes I feel sorry for the old goat, having to work year-round with only four weeks of paid vacation and additional assorted holidays, unable to live my life of potato-ing on the couch and eating bonbons.

    I hope you don't try to pick somebody else's seat. Heh heh.

    I am sure your purse is bigger, with better contraband, Perhaps in a Kathy Bates Fried Green Tomatoes manner, as in, "I'm older, and I have more insurance." I do seem to remember that you carried a 55 ounce soda in that purse. I imagine it's like a clown car.

    As for your girth, I did not notice anything untoward. You were still able to stalk the un-elusive Hick and steal his soul in a photo likeness.

    That gal does not sub anymore because last I heard, she had landed a permanent gig teaching GED classes at one of the local prisons. How ya gonna keep 'em pent up in the high school, after they've been behind bars?

  7. Lynn,
    Thank you, ma'am. I'd call you Madam, but...well...that name is taken. I'd brave the riots to come to your book signing Saturday, except it happens to be the day Hick plays Santa, which means I have to take The non-driving Pony to his bowling league at noon, and then pick him up when he's done, and then attend my only niece's baby shower.