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An Afternoon Matinee

Woman

I enjoy going to weekday movie matinees. They are economical and relaxing. I prefer not having to listen to the conversations of those who think of the cinema as their own living room and choosing to converse with their companions throughout the viewing.

My exception is the few occasions where I have attended screenings prior to a new release. I am more than happy to arrive early to such an event and share my armrests with strangers.

Today, after a couple of morning errands I went to Southdale to catch the recently released Woman in Gold. Because of an ankle surgery and an additional condition I have called “Theater Knee” I tend to arrive early so I am able to sit in the front row of the back section. My plan is that once everyone is seated I am then able to elevate my feet on the bars in front of me.

Typically I take the second or third seat from the aisle (leaving the ones to my left vacant) and place my handbag on the seat to my right, as well as popcorn if I get it. Theater floors are too sticky for a handbag and unless the seats are filled I see no reason to hold my sizable tote on my lap. Another component of my early arrival and calculated seat selection is I know that frequently I have to use the restroom during a movie and do not wish to climb over others when departing and returning.

Sometimes there is no more than one other ticket holder in the entire audience and rarely are there more than 20 people at a midweek matinee during the school year. Today when I arrived there was one person in the end seat of the row behind my preferred selection. Then two women arrived and went to the far end of “my row” and took the seats opposite of mine (the third and fourth in from the far aisle) and instantly put their feet up. A few other solo folks came and made their way to higher seats but all were scattered unless they arrived with someone.

Just as the ads were ending and prior to the trailers beginning two older women walked in, they made their way into my aisle, past my seat to the vacant dozen seats between the other early arrivals and myself. The women looked down at my purse and the popcorn bag that my hand is in and one inquired “Is this seat taken?”. I responded “No” and relocated my purse and popcorn across my body to the immediate vacant seat to my left. Upon further evaluation she then stated “You wouldn’t mind moving to this one, would you?” indicating that I be seated in the seat that had only recently held my purse and popcorn. I acquiesced and they “sat me in” bladder be damned! Immediately putting their feet on the railing and saying “We are old and like to put our feet up.” barely noticing my response of “Of course, that is why I always arrive early.”

I chuckled to myself as they broke into a conversation about family and friends. One of them spoke of her advice to her grandson who would soon be graduating from high school and headed to St. Thomas University, while his girlfriend was going to school in Indiana “I told him to hang onto her, she’s from a wealthy family and he might never need to work another day in his life.” I tried to envision how much work he had done in his life at this point that would make him want to not have to work after going to college. Then they both talked through the first trailer about people who had the nerve to call them at a quarter to eight in the morning. Probably some well meaning relatives that “have to work” that wished to check in before their work days began. The nerve.

The next trailer was for a Woody Allen production where Joaquin Phoenix portrays a professor, in which he displays an arc of moods in a hastily spliced synopsis. The one firmly stated her disapproval of him and the other whispered “I think he’s sexy.” Thankfully the lights went down further and the show I had paid to see began. I liked it very much, despite needing to use the restroom during the final half hour. As you can imagine, when the show was over, they kept their feet up on the bars all the way until the lights came up. For $5.35, I got more than my fair share of entertainment for one afternoon!

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