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?






  1. Debbie says:

    Hmm. maybe we need to make it a group movie night and go in and take over an entire section of seats!

  2. Moody says:

    Oh my god!!! You do not want to go to the movies with me!
    I hate, hate, HATE it when people do that and I will let them know. I have been known to actually use my own popcorn as ammo in my efforts to show others they are “breaking the rules”. True, that was a long time ago and I have since then quieted down a little, but damn!!!

    The worst I have *ever* had it, was when I was on a “short break” with my best friend (this is like 2 decades ago). We were in a different town and decided one night to go to the movies. Same theater group, so we figured same deal as “back home”. How wrong we were!!!
    Now, I have just stated how much I hate it when people “mess up” the movie experience. Here’s how bad it got.
    As we move into the *puny* theater (I think it held 120 seats at the best) and quickly decide to go sit all the way in the back (50 feet from the screen maybe?? duh!!) All around us, people start fighting their bags of chips, candy or popcorn, slurping and gulping their drinks so we think “cool, shrug it all down before the movie starts, at least it’ll be quiet afterwards”. Little did we know that was just the first round. Obviously, these folks spent twice as much money on food and drinks, as on the damn movie. And then some!
    Movie starts and another round of ripping, tearing and slurping starts as everyone around us seems to open up their second bag of something. Annoyed and slowly getting agitated, I resist the urge to stand up and yell “Shut the F up!!!” & let the movie grab me and take me away to another world.
    Things finally quiet down a little (I think we were about 1 third into the movie) and I settle down as well, hoping to now enjoy the rest of my movie in peace.
    Oh, but THINK AGAIN!!!!!
    Suddenly, the lights come on and the screen goes blank!
    We look at each other and go “WTF???????”
    We never knew there was going to be a break in the movie. It wasn’t announced, it wasn’t advertised. DUH!!!!!!!!!
    So, we sit there for 15 minutes (if not more) with the lights on and the blank screen. We are the only people left in the theater. Seriously. Everyone else has gone.
    But …… they returned.
    With a fresh load of munchkins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We were just about ready to get the hell out of there and RENT the damn movie!
    Once everyone is in their seats again (I am still wondering if this was a timed event or if the guy in the booth simply waited for all the seats to be filled again before putting the movie back on) and the movie starts as suddenly as it has stopped. And of course, we were treated to another round of tearing, plucking, slurping and gulping all around.

    I have never, ever, EVER had a worse movie experience.
    Not even when I was on vacation in Tunisia (with this same friend) and we went to a movie there with our “local boyfriends”.
    Hot dangit, never again!!!!!

    I’m glad we now have this little feature where you can pick your seats ahead of time. I always pick seats in the back and preferably with 1 seat available on each side (if others have already been taken in that row). Yes, I know, it’s selfish, but I need my space.
    Deal with it!


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