Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday afternoon, Christmas day, my wife and I, as is traditional for many people of a certain ethnic group – Here’s a hint: We’re not Asian. – went to the movies. I’ve been working like a beaver… I actually have very little knowledge of how hard beavers work, but will assume the metaphor is valid. …for what seems like forever, and had been looking forward to the break, to anything that could get my head out of my office, literally as well as figuratively, and back to thinking on a positive track.
We saw “The King’s Speech,” featuring an amazing performance by Colin Firth as The Duke of York, struggling, in the words of the script, “to find his voice.” Wow. It’s literally breathtaking to see anyone, in this case an actor, take his craft to take such extraordinary levels of accomplishment. When the titles rolled, the entire audience at the crowded theater applauded in agreement, but that’s not the point, and wasn’t the highlight of my day.
Our tickets were for the first, early afternoon show, hoping to avoid the afternoon zoo of minivans and SUVs we expected to be headed for family entertainment at the 14 screen multiplex. Traffic, on our way to the theater, was minimal. So far so good. In the vast theater parking lot, there couldn’t have been more than 50 cars, employees’ included. Certain we’d have our choice of seats, we even loitered for a couple of minutes in the theater lobby, scoping out the posters for coming attractions while we waited to meet another couple that was joining us. The place was pretty much empty.
As fate would have it, every one of those cars in the parking lot apparently belonged to other people of the same ethnic group, all of them already seated in Theater 13 where they were showing our movie. “Hmmm.” Unable to find any decent seats where all four of could sit together, the other couple split up, leaving my wife and me no choice but to sit in the very front row, in the flat portion of the theater, about 10 feet from the screen, which was in front and above us – and what seemed like 10 inches from the front speakers. (If you’re verbalizing any comments while you read this, you’ll need to speak up.)
At least we were sitting next to each other and could hold hands during the show. (“Heck, I’d pay good money to hang out with my wife for a couple of hours,” I rationalized. The movie really wasn’t the point.) And so we leaned back, our heads resting on the back of our seats, and started watching the previews, our heads turning as if we were center court at Wimbleton, to stay with the English context of the movie we were there to see.
“What the hell,” I said to myself, figuring that I would tough it out, but worried that my wife, who needed the break as much as I did, would be disappointed – and then she turned to me, in light coming off the screen and within the din of the front speakers, and smiled. “At least we have plenty of leg room,” she laughed at me, and me back at her.