July 13, 2015
When seeing a children’s movie during matinee hours, I am asking for trouble. A sagacious adult will anticipate a stockpile of obstreperous, sugar-packed dependents crawling over the seats and walls of the auditorium like chattering, hyperactive insects. Complaining to an usher about boisterous youngsters, however, is like complaining to a farmer about his bleating goat. It’s just what kids do, and you’ll look like an idiot for protesting it. My only options are to either deal with it, see it late at night, or go see Insidious 3.
But here’s the deal; Partner wanted to see Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out. Partner also prefers to only view matinees. So with a convincing-ish, smile and a tone as enthusiastic as I could muster given the circumstances, I said,
I assume I sounded authentic because he didn’t follow up with, “Are you sure?”
Because I will do anything for Partner (I say “anything” because he’s never made an outrageous request like bedazzling my butthole or tattooing Chris Pratt’s face over mine), I meditated; after all, one of the few injustices that enrages me like a redneck at a gay wedding is distracting behavior during a movie that I paid $10 to see. I understand that becoming outraged over something so trivial is immature and possibly indicative of an anger management issue, but understanding it doesn’t deter the actuality of it, now does it?
Fifteen minutes prior to the movie starting, Partner and I sat near the middle of the dimly lit auditorium. Among the pre-show ads was a commercial for Bud Light (because if I owned a beer company, I’d want to target ’em young, too) and a lovely PSA to traumatize the young audience about how the government steals kids if their parents cook meth. Meanwhile, I’m struggling to maintain my zen-like state of mind as Betty Brat-Face* and Punk-Ass Payton* (*not their real names) whined for more soda and thoughtfully suggest that the movie start “NOW! RIGHT NOOOOWWWW!!!”
‘Stay at peace. Stay at peace. Stay at peace.’ I thought over and over.
Just as I began to feel the effects of my rote mantra, light flashed to my right, two rows down, like a flickering bolt of silent lightening. After my eyes adjusted from the startling invasion of illumination, I made the mistake of turning to face the source of this intrusion only to be directly blinded by another blinding flash of light.
Covering my face and turning away, I hissed and squealed like a vampire gremlin. The phrase “What the fuck?” may or may not have slipped out of my mouth. Upon regaining my vision, I cautiously turned back towards the source of the flashing light, peering through my fingers in case a quick cover was necessary, and noticed that a parent was capturing pictures of his children…sitting in the movie theater.
I found this peculiar, but didn’t give the isolated incident much thought until it happened again, this time five rows directly down from us, and then again soon after that by the parent just over my left shoulder. Parents were snapping pictures of their tax exemptions like they were standing in front of Cinderella’s fucking castle at Disney World instead of the Malco Paradiso cinema (one of the most uninteresting landmarks in Memphis right up there next to the Boomerang car wash on Poplar).
I leaned towards Partner and muttered, “What the ever-loving Hell?” But he only chuckled. Is flash photography in a low-lit setting a thing now? Did parents discover this new trend on Scary Mommy or Huffington Parents? Does parenting rob them of the concept of flash blindness and other inconsiderate behaviors? If I ever brave another children’s movie matinee crowd, I intend to monitor this activity further and report my findings. Until then, I will never again judge someone for wearing shades in a movie theater auditorium.
From the heart,