The Things You Don’t Do For Love

I'm such a hopeless romantic. Nothing says love like a nice drawing of the heart with annotations. (Image for USF.EDU)

I went to a movie with my wife the other day.  Between the fact that we already pay too much for cable and the brilliance of our flat screen TV, going to the movies is a fairly rare occurrence.  Still, the little woman had her heart set on it, so in the spirit of being a supportive husband, I got the keys and out the door we went.  I wasn’t overly eager to see this particular movie, as it had virtually no nudity or sophomoric humor in it.

We found two seats, on the aisle and near the back.  There was only one row of seats behind us, which were reserved for people with disabilities and their companions.  I briefly considered limping into those seats, but knew I’d feel really guilty if someone came in after me and toppled down the dark steps with their walker.

My wife and I got comfortable and watched the previews for upcoming attractions, all of which looked more exciting than the movie we were about to watch, and all of which had ungodly loud special effects.  Let’s face it, if the sub-woofers don’t physically shake the concrete floor of the theater, people feel cheated.

Before the coming attractions were over, I heard the two seats behind us become occupied.  Considering the massive amount of audio input I was receiving from the coming attractions, it was not a good sign that I could hear people settling into two seats over 36 inches away from my ears.

I dared not look back at these two people, preferring instead to entertain myself by imagining them throughout the course of the movie.  I’d then sneak a peak at them when the lights went up to see how close I had been in my mind.  I also knew that if I looked at them, I would be more tempted to start some sort of dialogue with them later in the movie.  Any conversation with these people would almost certainly take away from my wife’s enjoyment of the movie, especially if the people and I started cursing at one another.

One thing I could tell immediately was that both of them were overweight, but the man was in the worse shape of the two.  He had the labored breathing of the morbidly obese, with the added likelihood of being a longtime smoker who may have worked with asbestos at some point in his life.  He undoubtedly had sleep apnea, and I silently prayed that the movie would not be too boring, lest he doze off.  His breathing was such that every other exhalation he made a “Hhhmmf” sound.  As disturbing as it was, I realized how much worse it would have been if the movie actually had nudity after all, as the “Hhhmmf” had an almost pleasurable undertone to it.

Don't say anything....don't even look....just pretend they aren't there...try to focus on the movie....Uh oh, here comes another stupid comment! (Image by ChrisQueen.net)

It soon became readily apparent that the two of them could not imagine sitting through 2 hours of big screen entertainment without multiple boxes and bags of snacks.  The first course was definitely in some kind of cardboard box with an inner wax-paper liner, like breakfast cereal or Triscuits.  I was prematurely happy to hear the empty box fall to the floor 20 minutes into the movie.  My joy was short lived as I immediately heard the second snack being torn into.  It was in a type of crinkly cellophane wrapper and may have been sticky, as there seemed to be a small struggle to pry the food loose from the bag and/or itself with each handful.  It must have had some chewy goodness to it, as it elicited lip-smacking and denture sucking with each mouthful.  Finally, the third snack sounded like it was some small, hard food in an unlined cardboard box.  It rattled around in the box, as if these two were enjoying the un-popped kernels at the bottom of a popcorn tub.  Each handful would be accompanied by the sound of the few morsels which got away, rattling down the side of the box to be scooped again later.

People often eat in movie theaters, and it takes a good deal of willpower not to succumb to the lure of overly buttered popcorn and $5 cups of Coke.  If the couple behind me had just been big time eaters, I would likely be writing about some other topic, like what’s annoying me about Facebook this week, or getting to that Gluttony piece for the Seven Deadly Sins challenge.

Sadly, these two were not just movie theater gourmets.  In an unfortunate combination of binge eating and bad manners, these buffoons talked with food in their mouths, in a theater, during the movie.  As if the symphony of the two of them rooting through their stores of goodies wasn’t annoying enough, they insisted on guessing what would happen next, or worse yet, commenting on what we had all just seen happen, as if perhaps we’d missed it.

“They killed that guy” he said aloud, with a mouthful of tasty morsels nestled in his cheek, right after a character had been stabbed in the heart and lay motionless on the ground, with his eyes glazed over in a blank death stare.

“Uh oh, now they goan fight!” she predicted in her outside voice, her mouth packed with Milk Duds, as characters on the big screen in front of us began picking up weapons and looking at each other menacingly as the music swelled.

Throughout the movie, the two serenaded anyone within 20 feet of them with declarations of the obvious.  In between helping those of us who were too mentally compromised to follow along with the plot, he would say “Hhhmmf”

I silently wondered where the hell these two were when I went to see “Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy”, I could’ve used some help with figuring that mess out.

Despite my overwhelming urge to turn and make some comment to the two of them, I kept my silent promise to my wife and said nothing.    At the end of the movie, I caught my glimpse and rewarded myself with an imaginary prize for being so close in my guess as to their appearance.  As a reward for my excellent behavior, my wife shushed me the whole way to the car.

Later, I couldn’t help but imagine the two of them, driving back home and showering each other with one obvious quote after another as they crept along going too slow in the passing lane.

“The light’s still green”

“Looks like the iHop is open”

“Those people in the theater were sure quiet”

In reality, they probably drove home in utter silence, having already used up all their small talk for the weekend.

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35 responses

  1. I don’t see what the problem is. It just sounds like there was a beautiful couple, deep in love trying to watch a movie. So what if they have breathing problems. What would Dan Fogelberg do?

  2. So funny! This is why I don’t go to the theater. It drives me nuts. I had a very similar experience. I decided that I was finally going to say something to the guy behind me. When I turned around, I noticed that he had to be every bit 9 feet tall and 500 pounds. Believing that I still wanted to live, I opted for agreeing audibly with him for the rest of the film.

    • It must have been a coincidence. Clearly civility in theaters is a thing of the past. It’s ironic, they had 5 or 6 public service announcements begging everyone to turn off their cell phones, but not any asking them to refrain from yabbering

  3. You’ve managed to hit just about every reason why I haven’t seen a movie in a theatre in years.

    And yes, I would have pictured them about the same way and gotten a bollocking from my wife for having done so as well.

    I gather from what you say that the movie wasn’t sufficiently memorable to make the orderal worthwhile.

  4. I go to movies all of the time. It’s my escape. I’ll take action and sophomoric humor, but you can keep your nudity. Unless it’s Daniel Craig, of course.

    My point is, and I think I have one, well probably not, but anyway: what is wrong with people? If you want to yack during the movie, or worse, cough and hock loogies (which hopefully are being swallowed and not ejected), then do it at home with a DVD. I didn’t pay 20 bucks to hear someone else’s play-by-play or pulmonary toilet.

    There. Thank you for letting me get my say in. And thanks for posting on something that gets my undies bunched up. And for the record, that couple gets around. I’m pretty sure they were in my theater last week.

  5. “Clearly civility in theaters is a thing of the past.” When I hear people like this couple, I either seethe silently and miss the movie altogether or hold it in as long as I can and then scream out something like, “I wonder what’s going to happen next?!” At the latter, the couple usually obliges by telling me and then we’re all satisfied.

    • Part of the problem was that the movie was a pretty popular one. Our tastes usually run to more obscure, arty movies, often frequented by university professors and monks. This keeps the chit chat to a minimum.

    • Two great things about your comment:

      1) “Food splutter” !! I feel like I’m holiday in the UK! Don’t ever change!
      2) The thought of my wife and me in the theater preening each other like a pair of apes looking for nits as the rest of the patrons file out.

  6. Yesterday at the early show (17:00) of the Avengers Assemble with wife, little one and little one’s friend, the other little one sitting to my wife’s right, not part of our group, started eating from a bottemless crinckly bag of what had to be toffee popcorn. I wanted to tell the little boy that he was making way to much noise. Noise so loud it was muffling The Hulk’s smashes. My wife, being a mother, grabbed my arm as I reached across her three times stopping me form ruining and traumatising the child’s cinema experience. He was in the Avenger Assembly world and she felt that I should leave him dreaming.

    What’s strange about this world is how everything is the same no matter where you are. The little boy was not fat, but you get my 1pointperspective.

    Token Trips.

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