How Sarah and I unintentionally caused mild pandemonium while watching Scott Pilgrim vs The World tonight

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BLOT: (30 Aug 2010 - 12:15:35 AM)

How Sarah and I unintentionally caused mild pandemonium while watching Scott Pilgrim vs The World tonight

If I were an augur, then tonight might not have happened the way it did; but I am little ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. Sarah and I have been wanting to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for some time, and have had unfortunately full schedules since it's August 13th drop. I have heard good things from my friends, and the urge stayed pretty strong even though I am mostly an on-DVD kind of guy. It's just, after the opening weekend was spent with Alicia, the next week was spent in class and at work, and then a weekend down in Gadsden was a middle stretch into more of the same the next week. Might have been able to swing it after class last Saturday, down in Gadsden, but a strangely pop-up storm came washed out the night. Then, yesterday, I was just too tired after spending a nine hour day at work. However, I knew that I wouldn't get another chance until next Friday, and the chances of it still being in theaters at that time are kind of low since it is making surprisingly, and inexplicably, bad box office (fair to good reviews and a unique premise is not enough to beat out Inception in its dozenth or whatever week, apparently). Tonight had to be the night.

This is where the augur bit comes in, those who study the flights of birds to find the will of the gods. On the way to see the movie, a group of Canadian geese decided to cross the road right in front of us. Sarah eventually came to a full stop before one goose in particular sort of shrugged a little and then flew the rest of the way over, like he was pissed that we were stepping on his leisurely stroll across Holmes Ave. It kind of shook Sarah up, because it was a little too close to hitting an animal by a car, and she really doesn't like that sort of thing. Fast forward to the movie theater, a frustratingly flightless bird omen in hand.

We get there early. Not terribly early but maybe a quarter hour. Time to get concessions and stroll to our seats. Except as we are going in, this sort of loud and blustery nervous guy strikes up an abortive conversation with us about how awesome the movie is going to be and how he loves the comics and all that. We sit down in our designated seats. To explain, for those who need it, Monaco Pictures, where we went, has numbered seats you choose from at the time you buy the ticket. Used to be more optional but I think it's standard now. Blustery and loud sits behind us, and beside him is a lady friend of a like character. Both end up with their feet shoved up against the back of our seats, making lack-of-volume-control jokes. About the time we get to show time, and the first trailer is starting up, the place is still mostly empty. There are maybe a dozen people at the showing. I tell Sarah that we should head on back to the corner seats. I have never sat back there at the Monaco, and it was devoid of people (at the time). We head up and plot down somewhere to the left of the screen (as you face it) in seats that are against the back wall and kind of near to where the steps come up and end.

Sure enough, a group of teens come in and when we hear them say "Oh, but that's OUR seats." It's not for sure we were the only ones in the way. There was another couple about three seats down from us that almost had to be in the way, as well, if that entire crowd of teens had planned on sitting in one row. Still, I was willing to get up and move and was about to do so when another couple of "But OUR seats" remarks were made and they sat down in some seats in front of us. Ok. Screw it. Had they asked, would have moved for sure. They didn't clarify it was definitely us and swung for passive aggressive methods instead. Not playing it. Too old. Too tired. Get off my lawn, kids.

Round two occurs when two guys dressed in black shirts and black shorts come up into the second or third trailer and start making a big deal about counting the rows. One of the girls jumps up and says "but someone was in our seats" and the guys go "Oh, well, we'll sit back here" and then sit down next to us. Note, they are one row behind where they would have been, in a theater that isn't all that big, but they started saying something about "Don't see why they have to take it out on us" and started, just slightly, to glare a little mine and Sarah's way before I returned the favor and they hushed and stared ahead. I'm thinking it's time for us to go back to our original seats and just put up with the seat kicking loud and blustery when that dude, still talking loud enough for us to hear him, gets pushed over because he is sitting in someone else's designated seat. It's a night for it, and by the way, the guy who got him to move was agitated enough for the rest of us to hear.

Then round three occurs, the decisive round. A mom comes in with her two kids and glares at the teens. She first sits down in the lower seats (close to where Sarah and I were originally) and then jumps up and starts stomping up the steps towards the teens, holding her tickets up like a badge and staring straight at a girl in black. The girl jumps up and starts pointing and saying something about them also losing their seats so Sarah goes "Eep, let's move". I'm thinking it's time to get away from what appears to be an increasingly odd and powder-kegged situation, and so we get up. Sarah's first instinct, God bless her, is to walk down the steps right through the fussing crowd. I grab her arm, say "Oh, nope", and snatch her the other way, and without being seen by the tangle, we get out of that Gaza strip of a back-left theater seat corner and return into our original seats.

By the time we have resettled after scooting around the other way away from the contested area, there is another group added in, making three groups standing around in a fuss about the seats. The men-in-black-shorts seem to stick to their refuge camp one row back. The group of teens seem determined to stick to their new arrangement which is a little more organic and actually allows them to talk more anyhow. The mom I don't see again after everyone quiets down, so I'm guessing she found someplace to sit up there. The fourth group, third group standing, which was a small handful men in white polo shirts, end up coming down to sit in the row in front of us.

And wouldn't you know it, well after the movie has started, people who had seemingly chosen those seats would come in, and would glare a second before they went and found a place.

That's how Sarah and I, moving to avoid an annoying guy in a mostly empty theater, ended up causing a dozen people to get their night out of whack without meaning any harm. The most amazing of the night might have been that no one, and I do mean no one dared to take the beef up with us, outside of the teen girl who mentioned someone was in her seat, but not even in our direction. One of the guys from the fuss-tangle walked by Sarah and me during the movie and sort of glared, and I just smiled at him and he looked away. And as we were leaving after the movie, the original teens were sitting around talking about "I don't know what happened, it was happening when I got there!" which I assume, again, was about us because the started to hush up as we walked past.

Sarah and I have been to Monaco and have had people in our seats and we've always just shifted over one or two. Sure we go to see a lot of mid-filled matinees where the chance of being in someone's seat seems kind of low, but we never really thought of it being a big deal. For the mom it was a really big deal.

My biggest regret, really, was assuming that loud-and-bluster was worthy of avoidance just because he was trying to be friendly before the movie started. I feel bad about that. I've seen my brother Danny do that sort of thing, just talk to strangers like they are human being and have people get weirded out by him. And it can be kind of weird and off-putting. I'm not saying he is right to do it like that, it's just...well, from experience I know that he just wanted to connect with someone and I handled it poorly. Had I not made that assumption (feet kicking the back of my chair aside) then the rest wouldn't have happened. In the end, he would randomly talk in an outside voice about something trivial and once or twice kind of killed a joke by commenting on it, but he never did it mean-spiritedly and it seemed to make him really happy to do so. And there you go, augurs-to-be, that's what a goose in the middle of the road means. Obstinance when you are out of place will lead to frustration and quacking, even if the other people aren't really willing to be irate enough about it work up a proper fuss.

To add to the surreality of the event, by the way, one of the neighboring screens was showing some documentary about Nick Saban, and had a large crowd of old people in University of Alabama jerseys and shirts wandering outside of our screen's door. Then, adding crazy to weird pies, another group of Canadian geese were wondering across a different stretch of road on our way home. This time Sarah shouted out of the window, "MOVE YOU STUPID GEESE!" and a couple quacked angrily at her. I'm sure that was goose language for "HEY, I'M WALKING HERE!"

TAGS: Me in 2010, Divination

BY WEEK: 2010, Week 35
BY MONTH: August 2010

Written by Doug Bolden

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