Two weeks ago I retired! Which I will blog about at some point!! Week one of retirement – I went on a quick trip to San Fransisco with Clark. It was Lovely!! But that trip is a story for another time.
Week two of retirement –
It’s a little bit after the noon hour. I’m standing in the large, abandoned foyer of the movie theater. Across the large room from me I see a young girl leaning against a counter. She is standing behind the candy case. It is filled with perfectly lined up rows of Junior mints, Dots, M&M’s. But nobody is buying anything. There is nobody at the counter. She looks bored. She walks out from behind her station and wanders over in the direction of an elderly man and strikes up a conversation. He’s sitting – perched up high on a stool. He collects the tickets of the patrons coming to see a movie. He mechanically holds out his hand to collect their tickets, rips them in half and drops his half into a tall box with a slit on top. He tells the patrons which direction to go in. ….3rd theater to your right….
I look back towards the large glass pane window in the front of the vast foyer. I see the ticket booth. There’s a boy in it selling tickets to patrons as they walk in. But there are no patrons right now. It’s like a ghost town. He’s playing on his phone. When I bought my ticket from him he looked happy to see someone. He told me I smelled good. Whattt? Am I wearing too much floral lotion?? I automatically sniff my sleeve. I can’t smell anything. I adjust my fancy scarf Im wearing (Sofia Loren Style!!) and smile at him. I take the tickets.
I’m waiting for Lauren. A few minutes earlier I had been driving through a blizzard to get here. It has been an unusually blustery winter. We’ve been invaded by the Polar Vortex! We’ve literally had mounds and mounds of snow fall on our city since January 1st. It’s been both wonderful and paralyzing. Clark grumbles about it each day. But I have been enjoying it immensely!! I get to stay home! Or go to the movies in the middle of the day!! I’m retired!! This Polar Vortex that has invaded our fair city looks gorgeous from inside my family room – with a blazing fire in the fireplace – looking out. I Love Winter!!
Back in the theater foyer, I look out through the window again and see Lauren’s white jeep pulling up. She parks, gets out and makes her way across the snowy, windy parking lot. She looks like an Eskimo. She’s wearing her long puffy coat. Hood pulled up over her head. She’s walking quickly ~ trying to get in from the freezing cold. She opens the heavy door and comes into the warm, abandoned foyer and smiles brightly at me. I LOVE this girl!! She is always up for meeting me ~ in the middle of the day or any other time I call.
We say our hello’s, hug and make our way towards the man on the stool. He holds his hand out to take our tickets. …riiipppppp…“First theater on your right.” We walk in the direction he pointed us in and through the door. In front of us, walking down the narrow, dimly lit hallway, are two elderly women. One is walking with a cane. The other is holding an array of theater snacks and a huge tub of popcorn. There is a plastic grocery bag hanging heavily from one of her arms. They turn and look at us walking up behind them and move to the side. The lady with the cane tells us to pass by because it will take them a while. They are moving slowly. So we do.
We get to the end of the dark hallway and turn the corner to the seats. There are only two other couples in the room. Both white haired and elderly. One is way down in the front row. The other couple is near the front on an end.
We have the theater to ourselves! We choose seats somewhere in the middle – about halfway up. After getting settled, I look up and see that the two elderly ladies have made their way to the turn. They slowly start to climb up the stairs. We can hear their overly loud whispering. “Where do you want to sit??” I’m thinking to myself.. sit right there!! They keep climbing. It’s exhausting watching them struggle with their candy and large, awkward tub of popcorn (which is spilling with each step they take) and grocery bag and cane. They make their way to the end of our aisle, look at Lauren and I and whisper loudly to each other that they want their own row. They go up one more row. The entire theater is empty and they decide to sit in the two seats directly behind us!???? Oh Brotherrr!
It takes them a while to get settled in. It’s like having two children sitting behind us. Our seats are getting knocked as they struggle with their coats and goodies. I give Lauren the sideways glance and roll my eyes. There is a loud crinkling of bags as they divvy up the goodies. This goes on for a while and actually, throughout the movie. I can hear the hissing sound and “pop” as they open up their cans of soda that they’ve confiscated in with them in the grocery bag. I can hear them eating their popcorn. crunch crunch crunch…
Well, I was not going to let this invasion of privacy interfere with my good mood! I was retired! I was out in the middle of the day. In a blinding snowstorm at the movies! With my beautiful daughter in law!!
“cough cough cough..” Somebody was coughing and sneezing in the theater!! I scooched down in my seat and pulled the fancy scarf I was wearing up a little closer around my nose and mouth. I didn’t want to get sick!
The previews start. We are shown several clips from upcoming movies. One was a –Disney Nature- movie about bears. Our elderly neighbors decided then and there that they would go see that next. They whispered loudly to each other that they liked bears. And those bears looked friendly to them!
And so it went. Loud whispered commentary. And not just from our neighbors. From all three couples in the theater. It wouldn’t have mattered where we sat. During a scene where they showed an empty boat we could hear the man near the front row… “That man musta’ drowned….” During the scenes where harsh language was used we could hear the white-haired lady half a theater away from us gasp loudly.. “Oh dear..” When something humorous happened on-screen, there was loud, robust laughter from the man sitting with the same white-haired lady that would gasp each time there was swearing.
“cough cough cough” The coughing continued. As did the crinkling every time our elderly neighbor reached into her bag to get more candy.
At first, Lauren and I looked at each other, silently chuckled and smiled. And then, we slowly grew oblivious to the sounds around us. We were quickly engrossed in the performances on the big screen in front of us. For two hours we barely stirred. And neither did our elderly neighbors. The movie was amazing. It was wonderful. What a great way to spend a snowy, cold winter day.
As the credits started to roll, I looked around to the other patrons in the theater. They were all recapping what they had just seen. They had enjoyed it as much as we had. I smiled to myself and thought I can only hope that one day, when I am elderly and things tend to take more time and effort, that I find myself in the middle of an empty movie theater with one of my bff’s. Whispering overly loud. Sneaking in our own beverages of choice. Spending a few hours together on a snowy afternoon ~ at the movies.