Friday, March 4, 2016

I'm old enough to be your mother

Late one Sunday afternoon my husband and I decided to go see one of those block-buster movies. We chose a theatre in Northern Illinois and found a spot in the parking lot that was packed with cars. We knew we would have to wait, since the film was very popular, but we had time and we really wanted to see it.

There was a pretty long line inside the lobby which stretched out the door and about a dozen people long, past the box office. Now, in those days they did not have timed-tickets or big lobbies with chairs and lots of space for standing around, so we went to the back of the line and waited our turn to get into the building and buy our tickets. It was summer, so the wait was not uncomfortable.

The line inched along. We got there early, because we wanted to get our popcorn and drinks in time for the trailers.  I love the trailers, they are often better than the movies! Like the trailer that I saw for the first Star Wars. It blew my socks off!  I knew right then and there that I was going to see THAT movie!

I digress... anyway, we were waiting in the line the get into the building. The line stopped moving and an usher came out and told us that we still had to wait until all the people from the last show left the theatre.

This movie house was right across the street from a Walgreen's so, since we knew we were going to be standing there for a while, I said to my husband, " I'm going to run across the street and pickup some stuff". He said OK and I left the line and headed for the drug store.

I was gone maybe five or ten minutes, but when I came back the doors had opened to the theatre to let just a few of the people inside. My husband was the last one they let in, then they closed the doors behind him.  When I got to the doors, he opened it for me in front of all the other people standing in the line outside.  Now, all those other people knew we had been standing together, and they politely (well most of them were polite) let me in.

As we closed the door behind me, a red- jacketed usher who could not have been more than 16 walked up to my husband and said that I could not come in... he was the last one they were letting into the lobby. My husband said I had just run across the street to get something important from the drug store and had only been gone a few minutes. Besides, the other people in line let me in, so what's the big deal?

The usher was in charge. He looked at me and decided take a different approach to enforcing his authority over the crowd of mostly adults waiting to see the movie.

"What's in that bag?" He demanded.

"Just some personal items I had to pick-up before the store closed". My memory gets a little fuzzy here, it must have been a holiday because Walgreen's never closes, right? But this was in the late 1970's and stores kept different hours.

"What's in the bag?" The acne- faced usher demanded again.

People in the line were turning to look.

"This is my husband, and we were together in the line so he let me in the door so we would not get separated." I replied.

"You can't bring candy and drinks into the theatre" He scolded.

"Well, it's not candy... we are going to buy popcorn when we get in" I replied. But I was getting a little irked by now.

"Open that bag and let me see what you are bringing in!" The usher demanded.

"You don't really want to look in there, it's nothing you have to be concerned about" I warned, knowing if he did, it would not go well for him.

"Let me see what's in that bag!" He ordered.  Everybody in the line was looking at the confrontation, now. My husband was giggling, letting me handle the situation.

"OK", I said.  "Take a look" I opened the bag and shoved it close to his face so he would have no doubt about when he was seeing.

By this time, the line inside the lobby was moving towards the theatre and some of the other people were heading for the concession stand.  But about a dozen were still there, watching and waiting for the end of this mini-saga playing out between the usher and me.

The young man looked inside the bag with a stern, disapproving look on his face.

When he looked up, his face had turned as red as his ill- fitting usher's jacket.

"Satisfied?" I asked with a slight smile.

He looked up at me as if I had just slapped his face. "Ah, yeah, OK, alright, ah you can go in" He replied, very embarrassed. The people around me started to laugh. They had no idea what was in the bag, but from his reaction, they probably had a pretty good idea. My husband burst out laughing. I stared the young man in the eye and said "Thank you".

He stepped away and we headed for our popcorn.  I don't remember what movie we saw. The encounter in the lobby was much more fun.

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