Oprah's monthly closer in O Magazine is a column titled What I Know For Sure. We opinioned folks find creative outlets to flaunt our agendas. For a variety of reasons we believe our voices are worthy of your ears. Oprah is successful enough to spout her manifesto to millions of us. She is a never-ending pitcher of Kool-aid and we consume nearly every tasty drop.
I will never be up to Oprah’s speed. There isn’t a whole lot I know for sure and likely I don’t know enough to fill a column about it every month. In fact, just when I get cocky and think I have it figured out things get a little messy. My column would have to be titled "Stuff I Used to Think I Knew."
But here is a thing I know for sure: there are very particular traits that individuals must possess in order for us to be movie buddies. I fully acknowledge, accept, and proclaim my freak -flag-flying-theatre-quirks (and it won’t cost you $5 to read).
First, a seat in the back row on the aisle cuts the number of possible neighbors in half. I don’t like neighbors when I watch a movie. They talk, smell bad, and generally disrupt my $8 experience. Therefore, I get to the theatre early so that I can sit in my favorite seat in the very back row on the end furthest away from the entrance. Patrons tend to take the quickest routes to find seats which means 65% of them sit on the side of the theatre closest to the entrance (This information comes from a very scientific study done several years ago as I sat with T in the dark observing who sat where.).
Second, to be my movie buddy you must engage in no talking, no texting, no gasping when the plot turns, and no disruptions of any kind.
Third, let’s discuss popcorn etiquette. Perhaps this is a holdover from my childhood when our eldest sister forbade us to eat more than one kernel at a time (while she shoved handfuls into her mouth). Whatever the reason, when sharing popcorn with a movie buddy I cannot tolerate the scramble-grab technique. This is when a fellow eater rummages through the popcorn, touching dozens of kernels and pulling out just a few to chomp. Worse, is the finger-licker who resumes popcorn fishing after thoroughly licking his fingers clean. And while we are on this topic: extra butter please.
Inevitably, no matter what precautions we take, someone will dart into the theatre just as opening credits roll. They climb the stairs and stand in front of us, whispering loudly about where to sit, and even if T and I are the only two people in the place, the newbies will select seats next to or directly in front of us.
This brings up my fourth and final movie buddy rule. If the theatre is close to empty and people sit next to us, we move. Once, T and I moved four times to get away from talkers. We settled into our fifth seat choice and high-fived as the movie began. Half an hour into the film we were joined by a straggler who sat next to T and loudly un-wrapped the wax from his smuggled-in salami sandwich. Straggler enjoyed his sandwich with noisy smacks and smelly burps. Luckily the movie was subtitled.
OK so maybe I have an additional movie buddy rule: no smuggled-in food.
Thank you to my movie buddies for complying with the above rules. An additional thing I know for sure is that it probably isn’t a lot of fun to abide by my rules while I fidget in my seat, hog the popcorn, and scold noisy people. I am not perfect, but at least I know my faults. I wonder if Oprah is fun to go to the movies with. She strikes me as a screen talker.