This week’s What I think May Be True But I’m Really Not That Sure Because I Am But One Woman was inspired by the family who sat behind my daughter and me today at Ramona and Beezus. To preface, I get very excited when a G-rated movie hits the theaters. Very excited. The reason for my excitement is two-fold. 1. I am a complete nut job when it comes to keeping inappropriate media away from the eyes and ears of my child and G-rated movies are supposedly free of inappropriate content. (I say supposedly due to the fact that I have been personally offended by some aspect of every single G-rated movie that I have ever seen – ie: Ratatouille made Schindler’s List seem cheery in comparison – but my inexplicable prudishness is a story for another time.) 2. The popcorn. Question: How often do you get the chance to consume upwards of 30 grams of butter-like saturated fat and a week’s worth of sodium, all in the name of family-friendly entertainment? Answer: Not often enough.
But let’s stay on point here: Because I do not watch the news I am able to occasionally forget the fact that the whole world is poor right now. This blissful ignorance, coupled with the fact that I have seen exactly two other movies since the recession began, left me with the antiquated image of Opening Days Past. And when I say past, I’m talking Reagan-era past. Remember the days of packed movie houses, free-flowing New Coke, and Mel Gibson having nothing more to be ashamed of than his sometimes-permed mullet? Yeah, me too. But this is not what greeted our arrival at the 2:20 showing of Ramona and Beezus this afternoon. Instead, we arrived to plenty of front-row parking, one person in front of us in line to buy tickets and a plethora of teenagers in black polyester suits, pretending to be happy to serve us. A tumbleweed or two may have rolled by as we made our way to Theater 10. Once inside, we found that the entire theater was literally empty. We sat in the 5th row, on the edge, and started eating our $8 popcorn. Before long, a few more families came in and settled into their seats, mostly in the very back of the theater. As the lights went down and the previews began, I heard some late arrivals making their way through the door. A woman and her three children entered loudly, blindly feeling around at the walls, and then proceeded to shuffle into the seats directly behind us. I thought that they would surely move once their eyes adjusted to the dark but I was wrong. Dead wrong. Instead, the pack of four (Is it possible that the children themselves were wearing Giorgio Beverly Hills?) began chatting, munching their individual servings of popcorn, sipping their huge sodas and tearing into their crinkly bags and boxes of candy. First of all, were these people billionaires? Have you seen how expensive refreshments are at the movie theater these days?! Secondly, are you effing kidding me here? With at least 200 other available seating options, you are sitting directly behind another family? Since my annoyed glances didn’t do the trick, I grabbed my popcorn, my kid, and my kid’s smuggled-in water bottle and moved up a few rows for the remainder of the movie. The movie was very cute (despite its egregious use of the word “stupid”) and my neck is starting to recover from the strain of staring up at the screen from the second row for 90 minutes.
So, here is this week’s What I Think May Be True But I’m Really Not That Sure Because I Am But One Woman: There are two kinds of people in this world. There are the kind of people who enjoy their personal space and then there are the kind of people who will sit right behind you at the movie theater. I would sooner watch a movie through the little window in the swinging door than sit behind other people in a virtually empty theater. Was this family insane? Were they trying to steal my purse? Were they trying to steal my child? Whatever their issue was, I know that I will do my part to keep my children from growing up to be Personal Space Invaders. Between Swine Flu, Pinworm (my newest phobia) and the plague of children who may or may not be doused in Giorgio Beverly Hills, couldn’t we all just use a little breathing room?