I love movies. I love popcorn. I can tell you exactly the last time I had real movie theatre popcorn. I was in Toronto for the International Film Festival seeing Infamous in 2006. I can still distinctly remember the glorious intoxicating smell of the fluffy popped kernels coated in the buttery mixture followed by the first bite that melted in your mouth with an exploding combination of salty, velvety rich, lip smacking goodness. I have to say it out loud, announce to myself and whoever might be going to the movie with me that I am not having movie popcorn each time I am tempted. If I am still thinking about it, I make myself say out loud the stats reciting them like I am rattling off Marilyn’s perfect numbers of 36-24-36 only these numbers are …910-71-41. A medium size popcorn with butter contains (on average) 910 calories, 71 grams of fat, 41 of those saturated. Sometimes I will try to argue with myself that it’s worth it, most times I don’t. There was a time I could down a medium popcorn, large soda and large pack of milk duds and not think to much about it. I didn’t know what it meant, what I was doing to my body. Now I know.
My relationship with popcorn changed a little Saturday afternoon and I will tell you how this happened. I have bad seat karma and anyone that has seen a movie, concert, opera, symphony, theatre production or any other live event with me will vouch for this phenomenon. If there is a tapper, a talker, a texter, a loud chewer, a chomper, a snorer, a gasper, a weeper, a slurper, an “explainer”, a kicker or a farter, they are sitting all around me. This happens without fail every time.
Saturday I went to see “The Iron Lady” with my dear friend Sarah, who I warned about my terrible seat karma as we had not seen a movie together yet. She had no idea the severity of the issue and god love her gave me a smile and the look of “yeah, okay. It will be fine”. I was hopeful that just maybe this time would be different.
It started with the gentlemen behind us who loudly voiced their sheer disgust at the movie “Albert Nobbs”, starring Glenn Close who plays a woman passing as a man in order to work and survive in 19th century Ireland. Maybe it was the “damn queers, make my skin crawl” statement that made me want to lean over and plant one on Sarah’s cheek and look back and give him a wink ! I didn’t, but I thought if I had to listen to a running commentary the whole movie it would not be pretty. I look over and Sarah gives me a little shoulder shrug and face that is saying “idiot and asshole …but not that bad”.
Things disintegrated fairly quickly as the lights went down we were hit in two places. First the woman who slid into the seat in front of me just as the previews started began rocking as if an 80 year old man, pipe in hand sitting out front of the Cracker Barrel waiting for a table, was sitting in front of me. I think my mouth actually dropped open thinking, am I going to have to have that chair ram into my shins for 117 minuets? Yes, in fact I would. I look at Sarah as I am trying to find a safe haven position for my kneecaps, she gives me a look of “Good Lord you do have bad seat karma!”. Then I hear it, what IS that noise? It sounds like someone is opening Christmas gifts. I look to my right and past Sarah to the lady sitting next to her with a gigantic bag of popcorn (I am putting that sucker in the 2000 calorie range) digging around in the bag with each and every bite like she is looking for a lost hiker in there. Oh, noooo, NO, NO, NO. It is clearly a tag team effort with this woman’s movie companion being equally loud and pretty much doing crunches every time he wants to get a drink of soda by leaning over and drinking out of the cup sitting IN the cup holder of the armrest. If you can’t lift your soda out of the cup holder to take a sip, it might be TOO EVER LOVING BIG! There is a moment when we hear the slurping of the final drops of liquid from the jacuzzi sized cup and think it is over. Silence. As we both simultaneously exhale relief in a zen like manner our calm is short lived as the lid is violently ripped off and the annoying ice jingling begins. Do they sell Valium at the concession stand?
The theater is now full and any hope of us changing seats has long passed. The bigots are in back of us, grandpa knee killer is in front of us, and the popcorn search and rescue rattling to the right of us and we are stuck in the middle, no way out. It goes on the entire movie. At some point I actually think Sarah mouthed the following words to me. “I hate you”. Of course she said it with a smile and we laughed like crazy the rest of the night.
In the end getting to spend time with a great friend, laughing, and seeing a good movie (yes, we did get to watch most of the movie) is better than any popcorn out there, and much better for my soul and my waist! The choices as to what to eat are mine to make, always trying to think about how far I have come but sadly the bad seat Karma I am stuck with. Next time Sarah and I decide to go see a movie we are arriving early, taking a box of tissues and coughing up a storm! No one will want to sit next to us, right?