Our quiet date night

Husband called me on his way home from work. “What are we doing tonight?” he asked. Yes, this is his way of asking me on a date. Since I rarely get any alone time with the man, I didn’t think twice about his approach, I just jumped on the chance to have an “adult evening” with him.

After bribing the boys with McDonald’s and giving strict instructions to Boy #1 to be nice to his brothers, the way a “real” babysitter would, Husband and I left for the movie. On our agenda: “The King’s Speech.”

When we pulled into the theater parking lot, we realized we were not the only ones who thought a 7:00 movie on a Friday night was a good idea. But after surveying that a good portion of the crowd were of the teenage persuasion, we reasoned that our movie would not likely sell out, and that the gaggles of pubescent peoples were probably either going to “Gnomeo & Juliet” or “No Strings Attached.”

We purchased our 88 ounces of pop and 10-pound tub of popcorn (the second measurement was an exaggeration; the first was not) and were shown to Theater 9 for our movie. Fortunately, we were correct in our assessment of the crowd’s movie taste, and the theater was not very full. We were the only ones in the front half of the theater and I made the mistake of thinking to myself as the previews began, “This is going to be awesome. No crying kids, no ‘too cool’ pre-teens trying to impress their friends by making fart noises, just peace and quiet and an excellent movie.”

Well, I was at least right about that last part.

And I’ll even go so far as to say that it was pretty peaceful for the first 20 minutes or so. But that’s when it  started going all kinds of wrong.

First off, our theater started vibrating not because of anything going on in our movie, but because of the movie in the theater beside ours. The music was so loud in their movie that I could barely hear Colin Quinn stutter. The only good part was that, even though it lasted probably five minutes, it didn’t return later.

Right after the movie-next-door spilled into our movie, the curse of the chronic cough began. Now, let me ask you a question. If you started coughing — that kind of coughing that comes on quickly and morphs into a full-blown coughing fit — and you’re in the middle of a theater during a movie that involves lots of talking, quiet talking, would you: a) continue to cough in the theater; or b) exit the theater until your fit subsided and you maybe even got a drink of water? Yeah, I thought so. Apparently, the woman in the theater with what sounded like double pneumonia did not.

I kid you not, for an hour and a half, it was cough for 5 minutes, quiet for 2, cough for 5, quiet for 2. I didn’t know whether to call 911 or call the theater manager and see if I could borrow a pair of headphones. It was sooo uncomfortable, though. Never before have I been able to read the minds of so many people at once: “TAKE IT OUTSIDE!!!”

So you can probably imagine our delight when the “Justin Bieber Never Say Never 3D” movie showing across the hall let out, and the voices of 739 preteens all trying to outshriek one another gently wafted into our theater. Even better, since our theater shared a wall with the lobby, the yelling-to-their-friends-at-the-top-of-their-lungs-about-how-awesome-Justin-Bieber-was-and-OMG-did-Josh-just-look-at-me-I-will-just-die-if-he-did-let-me-send-him-a-text-and-see-what-he-says continued until their parents finally got around to picking them up. Which, parents, wasn’t soon enough.

Apparently the theaters are now saving money by constructing their walls out of parchment paper.

So, while “The King’s Speech” was amazing, I would’ve liked to have actually heard all of the dialogue instead of relying on my inference skills. Which is why Theater 9 is now dead to me.

Maybe we should’ve just seen “No Strings Attached.” At least then if we couldn’t hear, we would’ve known we weren’t missing anything…


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