I went to a matinee the other day on a weekday. Obviously weekday afternoon matinees dramatically lowers crowd interference.
My mom also goes to matinees. One time she went in when the lights were out, took a seat and watched the movie. When the lights came back on, she realized that she was the only person in the theater. You kind of have to wonder about the economics of this practice. Does one matinee priced ticket justify the screening of a movie?
I’ve been to matinees where there have been very few people, but I’ve never gone to one where I was the only one.
The closest I came was a couple of years ago. I get there my usual ten minutes or so early. The theater is empty. I meander up the aisle about halfway up and then take a seat in a row near the aisle. I usually don’t like sitting in the middle of a row, due to the fact that I occasionally have bladder issues (my ex used to call me Mr ThimbleBladder) and the fact that when this situation arises, I hate having to climb over people’s legs to make my escape.
Movie theater seats aren’t quite as bad as airplane seats. There is more legroom. On the other hand, there is usually sticky food product on the floor that you have to navigate, and let’s face facts, Americans are not exactly getting skinnier. For obvious reasons due to elementary physics, big people have a tendency to mate with big people, so therefore, if there is a big person in your aisle, in all probability there are a sequence of big people, which makes the row escape somewhat akin to a steeplechase taking place in the dark of night with mobile, slightly pissed off obstacles.
Therefore, I stay close to the aisle where my escape route is fairly well defined. On this day, I take my seat. Several minutes pass. It is now only a couple of minutes before show time. Can this be the day? The day where I’m the only person in the theater? I get slightly excited at the idea.
Alas, right before the theater begins to get dark, three people walk in. At their appearance, I get slightly concerned. It is a mother, father, and a teenage daughter. All are not just large, but slovenly large. The kind of large that shops at Wal-Mart in their tattered pea green jogging suits. They each have a large tub of popcorn and a what appears to be the gallon size soft drink. They look around, point up, and start heading up the aisle.
They stop in the row in front of mine and contemplate. I’m like, no way. There is no way that they, with the whole theater to choose from, are going to plop their XXXL sized bodies in front of me and block my view, let alone blot out the dialog of the movie with their foraging of their food.
They think better of it. They move one row up above mine and proceed to enter it. I breathe a sigh of relief. However, as the mother walks past behind me, out of nowhere her purse, somehow hitherto unnoticed but approximately the size of a mid-sized Buick, whacks me on the side of my head as she walks past. The family continues on without saying a word.
Seriously…wtf?? I’m the only person in the theater and she manages to hit me on the head with her purse? What? She didn’t see me there? Out of the thirty or so rows, she has to pick the one in which she can do me bodily harm?
I watch the rest of the movie in a foul mood, much too much the typical emotionally repressed painfully polite Seattlelite to make a scene. But let me assure you that she received a very angry glare when I walked out. Of course, her head might have been buried in her tub of popcorn at the time, but still, I think my point was made quite emphatically.