The Secret to Coping, Perhaps Surviving, an Afternoon at the Movies (Hint: Jumping Jacks)

Read my vibe. Don’t stop at our row. 

Obviously, the couple didn’t read vibes. They ambled toward us anyway.

Sit in that other row. Not ours.

No! Don’t sit in our back row. Sit in another row.

The couple didn’t listen to my vibes. They stopped at our row and staggered in.



The view from your movie theater seat seems blurry after someone passing by shines a tiny flashlight in your eyes.

Jerry and I chose the matinee showing of our movie in the hope of escaping the crowds. We arrived early and picked the ideal viewing spot in the back row.

For maybe five minutes we had lots of space and room and a clear shot of the movie screen. Only two other women, way at the other end, shared our row. One held a cell phone with a panel of blinding apps.

The  vibeless couple plodded over us. Jerry and I did our best to make their passage manageable. “Excuse me. Excuse me,” they said.

They took seats next to the cell phone lady. We still had space on our end. Good. Then another couple chose to sit in our row. “Excuse me. Excuse me,” they mumbled as they squeezed by. I wondered why our row had become the chosen place to sit. It’s as if everyone entering, stopped and looked around. When they spotted Jerry and me at the back row, they said to themselves, “That nice-looking couple must know the best place to sit. Let’s sit with them.”

It appeared we had the high-end real estate of the theater. Everyone wanted their spot near us.

As the previews started, stragglers picked off the empty seats in our row. A Cary Grant look-alike used a teeny flashlight to light his way as he stumbled over us. The tiny light glared with intensity. Finally everyone settled in. After recovering from temporary vision loss induced by the flashlight, I hoped to finally relax. I didn’t hear crunching of popcorn. No sniffling or snorting. All’s well in our back row. Or so I thought. Someone seated five seats to my left just remembered he wanted popcorn and soda. Or the restroom. I don’t know which. Another person needed something too. They began to squeeze their way back out. Flashlight Cary came back through also. He directed his tiny light on the floor rather than in my eyes. Two more women followed. Knees up! They didn’t have anything to light their way. “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” they said as they passed us in stumbling fashion. “Oh! I’m sorry!” one of the women said to Jerry…(he later explained the woman had stomped on his foot and he had suffered his pain in silent agony).

Our row had only two vacant seats left before the movie started. One of the vacant seats on my left held my purse, and jacket (in case the AC became too frigid for my liking). By now, the crowds had filled in all the empty seats in front of us. The people who left our row had returned. Dark shadows of heads filled the theater as the lights dimmed. The movie began.

The thought came to me. Ahh, maybe we’ll have some peace now. Hopefully , everyone has their popcorn in hand and no more need for the restroom. Right everyone?  (death stare)

Noises, like the crunching of popcorn or sucking of mints, can be annoying when you're trying to watch a movie. (crrr-unch!)
Noises, like the crunching of popcorn or sucking of mints, can be annoying when you’re trying to watch a movie. (crrr-unch!)

Ten minutes into the movie, two fiftyish women tottered up the aisle and stopped at our row. “Are those seats taken?” one of the women asked loudly. She pointed to the empty seat on my left and the other empty seat further down. Flashlight Cary stood and moved down a seat. Everyone else on my left also stood and moved down a seat. I plucked my purse and jacket out of the chair beside me. Now two empty chairs remained side-by-side to my left and the two fiftyish women slogged through and flopped down rather ceremoniously. They chuckled among themselves at their great fortune of snagging the last two seats in our very popular row. Not to mention, their thrill of getting many of us to move for them.

I tried to concentrate and catch up on the movie’s story line when my new seatmate turned to me and asked in a raised tone, “Did we miss much of the movie?”

I told her she didn’t and tried to focus back on the movie.

My seatmate muttered and mumbled to her friend. Giggle, giggle, tee hee. She then plopped her purse on her lap and began to fish through it. Fish, fish, fish. She yanked a tiny tin of mints out of her purse and offered a mint to her friend.

Mint-sucking sounds commenced and then “Ha, ha, ha, ha.”

Whisper, whisper to her friend. More outburst of merriment from her. “Ha, ha, ha.”

Then she quieted down. Ahh, maybe now I can watch the movie in peace.

But no! The lady decided to talk to the characters in the movie. When one of the characters decided to get revenge, my seatmate called out to the screen, “It’s war now!”

She punctuated the movie with many “Oh no’s!” “Oh yes’s!” And “Ah-ha, ha, ha’s.”

The movie ended. As we drove home, Jerry filled me in on all the parts of the movie I had missed due to the interruptions.

It made me think that life is full of interruptions and unexpected moments that cause irritation. The beep of call waiting as you’re (beep) trying to talk to your (beep) best friend who you haven’t talked to in a month.

75NottoSome interruptions can be fun. Like a surprise birthday party. Although I’ve never SI I never had a surprise party, but I’m sure discovering people popping out from behind your furniture hollering “Surprise” can be counted as a fun interruption. Unless you don’t know the people or they didn’t bring presents.

But how to handle the interruptions that feel like annoyances?

An online article suggests a coping strategy of faking it. “Acknowledge your irritability,” the article states, “and don’t give into it.” The article suggests that pretending to be positive will actually  start to rub off and you’ll begin to feel positive. Yes, I can see that now. I could have faked pleasure at having people stomp and tromp in front of me while trying to watch the movie. “Oh, thank you for coming by and blocking my vision of the screen. My name is Bronwyn. Great to meet you. Enjoy your visit to the restroom.” But I’m not sure how easy that would have worked. The article also suggests exercise as a way of combating irritation. “Exercise releases endorphins, which are a neurotransmitter that improves relaxation and positive thinking.” It explains that exercise creates a calmer and more relaxed mindset. I guess I could have tried doing some jumping jacks in the aisle. I don’t think the two ladies seated on my left would have even noticed.

I think I need a mint now, so I’ll go check my purse. Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me.

These mints can be so small yet make a big sound during the sucking process.

These mints can be so small yet make a big sound during the sucking process.

The End.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *