Every year I promise myself that I will see every notable movie that comes to theaters. But then I put it off for 11 months.
Although I used to love to go to movies, entering my 50s and the lovely land of menopause have resulted in my being banned from most public places . . . at the request of my own family.
However, when I start hearing the rumblings of Oscar nominations, I am propelled into a form of panic that feels like that dream in which I suddenly remember I’m in a college class and it’s time for the final exam. The Oscars are coming, and I am not prepared to be passionate about a particular movie because I haven’t seen any of them.
So, my husband and I plan to venture into the public arena. My husband puts on his mental armor, steeling himself for the date night ahead.
We arrive at the theater with a 30-minute movie cushion, and I am in an amiable mood. Then I realize there is not one parking place in sight, and even the kiosk line is long. A hot flash ensues as I slow to 20 miles per hour and push my husband out the door to stand in line. He rolls gently on the pavement and pops up, ready to purchase tickets.
I park the car in North Dallas Forty and jog to the theater to justify eating more popcorn. Once inside, I run to get in line for snacks and am filled with competitive pride when I select the shortest line. Unfortunately, I find myself standing behind The Riddler.
The woman’s questions are varied and ridiculous. “And is the topping real butter? Is it made fresh? Do you have diet drinks? What are they? What kind of cheese is on your nachos? Do you have any smaller boxes of candy?” I’m pretty sure she has never been to a movie theater.
Finally, snacks are purchased and my husband shows up with the tickets. We work together like engineers as we try to figure out how to hold our tickets with fingers wrapped around giant drink cups and tubs of popcorn, because I always fall for, “Would you like to upsize for a quarter?” I mean, that’s a big size difference for a quarter.
As I enter the theater, it takes my 52-year-old eyes at least five minutes to adjust to the dark. My husband and I stand in front of the stadium seating and squint as we try to locate empty seats. There they are — in the third row between the man with Twizzlers, which will require extensive chewing, and the woman with homemade snacks.
I walk to my seat and listen to the sound of my shoes peeling off the floor. At one point, I am stuck completely, and I realize what mice must feel like when they step on glue traps.
Once I am seated, I place my purse on my lap to avoid the floor and try to position the bucket of popcorn. I realize my large Coke won’t fit in the drink holder, so I place it under my seat, promptly spilling it. Now I know why the floor is sticky.
As the 45 minutes of previews begin, I lean back and smile at my husband. I will be nice, I will be nice, I will be nice. I start to eat the popcorn as the yellow oil topping runs down my arm. A preview for the Texas Chainsaw 3D begins, and I watch a man put on a mask made of somebody else’s skin as he severs the arm of a young woman in slow motion. So much for the popcorn.
Just as the movie starts, the man in front of me starts reading his well-lit iPad. Really? I proceed to kick the back of his seat hard enough that his head jerks back. My husband releases my hand and leans away from me. I think I’m beginning to ruin date night.
The woman beside me begins opening her homemade snack wrapped in something that crinkles so loudly I miss a majority of the dialogue on the screen. She tries to do it quietly, which only elongates the process.
Finally, everything is quiet until the couple, who is always late, arrives and stands in the aisle saying, “I THINK THERE ARE TWO SEATS OVER THERE!! ARE THOSE FREE?”
And don’t even get me started on the whisperer. Did you know that whispering carries more decibels than talking in full volume? Whispering is LOUD. And I am surrounded by whisperers, including my husband.
Eventually, I enter the story on the screen and everyone around me is saved. I sit quietly throughout the rest of the movie, mesmerized. As the lights come up, I am delightful. I allow people to step in front of me as they leave the theater as I think to myself: Only 10 more movies to go before the Oscars.
Perhaps I should find a hormone patch before attending my next movie, particularly if that movie has excessive violence. In that case, the guy whose chair I kick might just fight back. If nothing else, I may need to find a new date.
My husband has offered to buy me all of the Oscar-nominated DVDs when they are released so I can watch them at home.
I think that might be the best plan.