OK, this is a departure from the type of blog I usually write, but we had a little experience at the movies Saturday. Maybe you will get a kick out of it.
We don't go to the movies very much. Maybe once a year . . . on our anniversary. We went week before last to see True Grit. It just seemed to be one of those that you really need to see on the "big screen". We may have caught the last showing in the Jackson area. It was showing on one screen in one theater and there were maybe a dozen other people in there with us. But, I like it that way. Near empty theaters usually mean that there is nearly no chance of distraction. This didn't really hold true at True Grit, but it wasn't that bad. The kid was enjoying the movie. But, generally, I like near empty theaters.
So, Saturday, we decide to go see "The Grace Card". (2 within a week!!) I'm not much for opening weekends because of the crowds, but we wanted to help out the opening weekend numbers for this movie. Ask anyone. I am not known for being early to anything. I hate to admit it, but "on time" has a somewhat different meaning for me than most folks. (I'm not as bad about that as I used to be.) And, did I mention that I like near empty theaters?
"We need to get there early, so we can get a good seat," I say. The matinee starts at 4:40, we leave the house for Tinseltown at 3:40. We get there, get our tickets, and walk into the lobby at 4:00. "What do we do now?" Sharon asks. "Well, let's go sit down. There is no need to stand around in the lobby all this time." "The Grace Card" is playing on one screen, the sign is over the first screen to the right. There is no one there to take our tickets. "Well, we paid. If they want 'em they came come inside and get 'em." We go in. We are alone. We sit down. After a while we decided that we were a bit too close. So we moved. We had the whole theater to ourselves. We could have any seat we wanted!
Time passed. 4:20 rolled around, and we were still alone. In case you didn't know, I like near empty theaters, but this is kind of disappointing for opening weekend. "Maybe they are all coming to one of the later shows," Sharon offers. "Maybe so," I'm thinking, but I'm also thinking that we cannot possibly be the only two people both interested in seeing this movie AND holding on to the 4 or 5 bucks that a matinee saves you. Sharon decides that she better make a trip to the Ladies Room to . . . Sharon excuses herself for a few minutes. Now I am all alone.
So, I'm sitting. And I'm sitting. I try taking a brief nap, but that didn't work. 4:35 comes around and no one else has come into the theater. Not even Sharon! Her purse, with the tickets - and her cell phone - inside is beside me. Hmmm . . . Did she run into someone she knows? Did she get caught without a ticket and now Homeland Security has her under interrogation? Was there a really long line in the . . . the place she went?
4:40 has come and gone. No previews, no movie, no Sharon, no nuthin'! I'm thinking they are not going to show this movie because there are not enough people here. Will they give us a pass to the next showing? And what about Sharon? I could go look for her, but if she comes back in here and I'm gone she will go into a panic. 4:50. Me in the dark theater, still alone. I'm going to have to go look for her. My phone rings.
"Where are you?" It's Sharon, but whose phone is she on?
"I'm in the same place I was when you left me."
"But, I can't see you!"
"I don't know why not. I'm the ONLY one here. Where are you?"
"I'm in the theater! Where are you?" Her voice is growing a bit desperate.
A voice near her is saying, "Tell him to stand up."
"I don't need to stand up! I'm the only person in the whole place!"
"They are only showing it on one screen." She is getting a little frantic now.
"I know that, but they are not showing it at all."
"I don't need to stand up, there is nobody else in here!"
"But, they are only showing it on one screen!"
"I know that! And you are not in here! You're in the wrong movie!"
"I can't find you!"
"Where are YOU?"
"I'm in the theater!"
"You're in the wrong movie."
"Where are you?" She is really beginning to get a bit panicky now. Have you seen any of those movies where a husband or wife leaves the room and then mysteriously disappears? No one will admit to ever seeing them. Suddenly there is no evidence that they ever existed. And then you are locked away in jail or the psych ward? I had mistakenly and stupidly left my ATM card in the machine Friday night, so either the machine has it or someone who came behind me. Could this have anything to do with that? Have we been swept into some sort of elaborate espionage plot? Or is this one of those dream things, like in "Inception"? "Nope, she went to the wrong movie," I say to myself.
"OK. You go out the door. I'm coming out." (They are not showing this movie at 4:40 anyway. I'm going to find my wife and then we're going to find the manager! I'm thinking maybe we'll get two movies out of this. The very idea of advertising a movie at 4:40 and the screen is blank! We've got to have something to watch til the next Grace Card comes around.)
Sharon's purse in hand, I clamor down the stairs and out into the hallway. I look to the right and there she is, a young man in tow coming out of the screen, which would be the first door to the right of anyone emerging from the Ladies Room. Well, an honest mistake, I say to myself. She is coming toward me. I say, "What are you doing in there?" as I turn to point to the sign above the door I just came out of which clearly shows that this is where you would go to see "The Gra . . ." "Big Mama's" "BIG MAMA'S"?!?!?!?!
"That sign said "The Grace Card" when we got here," I tell the young fellow who seems quite relieved to be relieved of this crazy woman that is dragging him around looking for her missing husband.
"Oh. They changed it," he says.
Attempting to assuage any possible "what's-the-matter-with-you-people?" thoughts this kid might be having toward us (Sharon for losing me, me for sitting in a dark empty theater past start time) I muster up a semi-back at you duh kind of thing with, "Changed the signs! Why would they do that?" (Sometimes I'm not that fast on my feet when it comes to thinking up stuff to say.) In retrospect, that probably would have been better left unsaid. I don't think it worked. He was a polite young man, though, and he really wanted to get away from us, so we thanked him for his help and the use of his phone.
Going into the theater, Sharon moved toward the route that would take us to the front so everyone who had seen her frantically searching up and down the aisles for me would now see us walking in together. "Oh, that's sweet. He must have been lost. Poor thing." I could imagine someone saying. Or maybe, "You'd think they could get to the show before it started! Now they're gonna be crawlin' all over us to get to a seat and ruin the whole thing. Now I wish we'd never come!", the other lady's husband would bellow. Before she got too far, I grabbed her arm and led her up the stairs that come out on top in the back. Fewer people will see us. Maybe they won't recognize her. (I hope all of our laughing didn't give us away!)
We eased into some pretty good seats 2 or 3 rows down, and actually got to see the preview for "Courageous". And then we watched "The Grace Card" in its entirety. It was much better than "Big Mama's" would have been, I'm sure. And we had all that other fun to boot!
"We're not doing this again!" Sharon says as we leave.
"You got that right! Next time we're bringing somebody to go to the Ladies Room with you. Women like to go in pairs, anyway." (I'm thinking I might need a grace card of my own after that one.)
Connected (more or less)
PS You should know that this kind of thing is not all that out of the ordinary for us.