Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Shame and indignation at the movies

Last night I dreamt I tried to board a bus with a hot iron. The bus driver turfed me off, and I gave her the finger. I awoke wrestling with feelings of shame and indignation, upset I'd been tossed off the bus and ashamed I'd been so churlish, after all, she had every right to refuse to let me ride. Which is a lot of unpleasant emotion, considering none of it really happened.

As I've mentioned before, my dreams seldom make any sense. Oh, I imagine they would, if I really settled down to analyze them, but dammit, I can't be bothered. I have a sneaking suspicion I wouldn't like the interpretation.

I like to think of myself as a pleasant and considerate person, but then, I imagine most people do. Even that woman at the ByTowne Cinema last Saturday. The Resident Fan Boy and I had scuttled away to take in a late matinée showing of A Single Man, partly because I wanted to see the film and partly because Colin Firth might get an Oscar nomination for his role in it, and mainly because we like to have seen at least a smattering of the nominated movies and performances before the Academy Awards broadcast.

The RFB headed off to find us a seat while I hit the concession for a small bag of popcorn and a headset. Bytowne Cinema now offers what they call an "FM audio assist" and since my hearing never has been fabulous, I've tried it for the last couple of movies there. I just plug in my own earphones and gee, I can hear most of the dialogue.

Balancing my trophies, I went in search of the Resident Fan Boy who was waving from a couple of nice seats. An older couple were seated in the aisle, and did not get up to let me pass, so I had a brief tussle disentangling my ankles from the bag the wife had left at her feet as I squeezed past her knees apologetically. At the time, I was feeling charitable enough to assume she had physical reasons to stay put.

I had decided to try a different set of headphones for the film, rather than my iPod ear buds which are mildly uncomfortable. This may have been a mistake. Early in this particular film, there's a flashback to a very rainy evening in LA when Colin Firth's character George first learns that his partner of sixteen years has died in a car crash. As the rain pelts down outside his study, George receives a phone call from someone connected to his lover's family who tells him (nearly two days later) about the accident and that the funeral will be "family only". George, obviously in shock, is detached and polite, until we see him running in a coat-less panic of grief through the storm to a friend's house for comfort.

"Would you stop making that noise?"

Startled, I turned from George's anguish to see non-rising woman who is seated two seats away from me.

"What noise?" I asked, in genuine bewilderment. She made an angry gesture and turned back to the screen. What's she going on about? I whispered to Resident Fan Boy, who shrugged. As I tried to re-focus on the movie, I wondered if she was bugged by my popcorn, but that had never seemed to have been an issue before. Then it gradually occurred to me that the scenes involving the rainstorm were over. Was it the hiss of the precipitation escaping from my headphones? I sneaked my iPod ear buds out of my coat pocket and put the other headphones away. I heard nothing else from old lady, but I caught her looking daggers at me later when I attempted to fold my popcorn bag away quietly. Oh dear. Am I becoming one of those people? Or is she already one of them? To tell you the truth, watching films at the ByTowne is a bit of a minefield, due to art-film-revering regulars who have strong views about where they should sit and how others should behave while they are sitting there. I'm not unsympathetic, but a bad-tempered growl doesn't help me rectify the situation. That's all I'm sayin'.

A Single Man is great, by the way. A dream-like sepia-view of a rather more innocent Los Angeles about to be hit hard by flower power. Colin Firth should get an Academy Award nomination at least for a performance of heart-breaking dignity.

I'll go do that ironing now.


JoeinVegas said...

When done, please be sure not to bring the iron onto the bus.

chrissie_allen said...

Oh Persephone thanks so much for giving me such a giggle! I can just picture it, that woman at the flicks! Very funny. I totally agree with you regarding the "growl"....never a good thing in a cinema.
Your dream was a bit of a hoot too!