Wednesday, November 28, 2012

new neighbors

In the past month I saw two movies and sat next to a horrible person at both of them. This person is not my wife, though she was there as well. No, I was sitting by a random stranger who did their best to make the experience really horrible for me. And in both cases, I don't think they were aware that they were doing it! Isn't life crazy? Crazy, and sometimes really terrible? Because movies are expensive and I didn't pay all that money to sit by your crazy mom.

The first special neighbor I had sat by me at a recent viewing of Skyfall. A movie I loved and saw twice, by the way. Lisa had gone ahead with our friends Kacy and Christian to get seats while I waited in the popcorn line. When I made my way into the theatre and found my seat, I could tell by the looks on Lisa and Kacy's faces that popcorn was not the only treat I'd be enjoying! I'd also be sitting by a really drunk man.

He was bald, like me, and that seemed to create an instant connection. From the moment I sat down he introduced himself and started to chat away. SUPER LOUD. And the booze fumes were toxic. You know when really drunk people bellow into your face and the smell makes you want to die? You don't? You need to get out more. Anyway, it was like that.

The previews came on and he narrated all of them to me. There was a (presumably) drunk lady sitting with him, but he seemed way more into me (if I had a nickel!) Some preview with Hal Holbrook came on, and he could not believe that Hal Holbrook was still alive. And I heard about it for about ten minutes, complete with swear words. That f'n Hal Holbrook is still alive, you guys! Who knew?

He did not enjoy Skyfall. It was too slow for him. During Javier Bardem's amazing opening monologue (which, if there were any justice, would get him an Oscar nomination) he started to growl "Aaaaaaaac-tion!" in my ear. You know - he wanted more action! As if I were controlling the movie. As if I could make action suddenly start. Hang on, man! Let me talk to Javier and encourage another motorcycle chase! What? It's a movie? On a screen? You're super hammered? This is all so sudden!

At the climax of the film he burped. And then, as the final credits rolled, he offered a succinct review: "Skyfall? More like SKYBORING!"

Lisa and I attended The Life of Pi last week and I tried to book seats with no one next to me. Thwarted again! Some middle-aged woman with a puffy jacket found her way in there, and she latched onto me as well. She seemed nice enough, until the movie started. And then, as Lisa smartly observed, it was as if she had never seen a movie before!

Everything was terrifying! She clenched her puffy coat to her face and hid her eyes.

"Oh, I just can't take any more of this show!" she kept announcing. But she did! She took it! And listen - there is maybe one legitimate scare in the entire movie. But this woman was clearly at Paranormal Activity 6. In her mind she was watching Murders Galore! or Everything's Super Scary and You Should Scream. Because she jumped up and down in her seat like a Jack in the Box, and Oooh'd and Aaah'd and Golly'd every 30 seconds.

I'm not being mean, everyone. She was not mentally disabled. I talked to her before. She seemed fine enough. I'm not making fun of her. I'm genuinely concerned for her, because she was honestly scared by flying fish and Gerard Depardieu and a few big waves. One time a giant whale swam under Pi's lifeboat, and she announced "Oh, that's a whale." Later in the movie Pi taunts a tiger with a stick, which the tiger paws at playfully.

"Oh, my cat does that, too!" she confided.

On and on. Two hours of chatting, shrieks, and puffy coat hiding. She wasn't even drunk.

I don't know if I can go to any more movies. And I want to!! I love movies and I like eating popcorn. But what can I do? I would love some advice. And don't tell me to just tell the person to be quiet. It doesn't help, and in some cases it just starts a fistfight. Can you imagine me fistfighting that lady? She'd trap me in her panic coat and I'd never get out. What could be worse?
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