I love going to the movies. I love the whole experience—the popcorn, the bathtub-sized “medium” drinks, the flip-down seats. I love nearly everything about the theatres. I try to arrive early to get a seat before the previews and trailers begin. Some movie houses show the slides of trivia questions, and I enjoy listening to others shout out their answers.
To me, going to the theatre is an occasion. As a child, I didn’t go very often with my family. I saved baby-sitting money so that I could go see shows with my friends.
A few years ago, I went with my best friend for a girls’ night out. We took her mom, daughter, and daughter’s friend to see Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. We got to the theatre early and staked out our seats. The young girls sat several rows away, so as not to be associated with us old ladies.
I suddenly had an odd craving for a hot dog—an urge usually reserved for baseball games only. Generally speaking, I hate hot dogs, but when I want one, I must have one. That night I found myself at the concession stand ordering a coke and a dog. After providing the equivalent to one college semester’s tuition, I was given a vat of soda and a small foil-wrapped meat snack.
The young man at the counter directed me to a cabinet stocked with napkins, straws and condiments. I grabbed a small plastic packet of ketchup and moseyed back to my seat, anxious for the feature to begin.
As I sat down next to my friend’s mother and positioned my drink into my allotted cup holder, I began positioning my napkin in my lap so that I did not have a ketchup mishap. I carefully tore the corner from the plastic packet, and balanced the red gold on my knee. I unwrapped the foil from the steaming bun. My tummy growled.
I pulled the delicate edges of the warm bun open, but much to my chagrin, the beautiful bun was empty. They forgot my wiener!
With just minutes left before the Upcoming Attractions, I marched back to the concessions. I waited patiently to be served. The young man finished with another customer and approached me with a nervous smile.
“I don’t mean to complain,” I began. “I’m not usually a picky person,” I added, “but my hot dog bun is empty.” I offered him the evidence.
A mélange of terror and panic overtook the man’s face. He spun around—without taking my bun—and scanned the lobby for his manager. He waved and motioned for a young woman in a blue blazer to join us. “It’s my first day,” he whimpered.
She raised her eyebrows and listened as he insisted I explain to her my calamity. I smiled. When she finally had the gist of the situation, she looked at the poor newbie.
“Well?” she said, expecting him to respond. His brain was visibly incapacitated.
She practically took his hand and led him to the hot dog section. “I don’t know,” he insisted.
“Take her empty bun and toss it here,” she gestured to somewhere behind the counter. “Then get her another hot dog.”
He paused, trying to figure out if there was a way to save the empty bun somehow. When he decided that his manager was right, he found another hot dog for me. I thanked him and smiled. I think we all learned something.
The hot dog was all I hoped it might be.
I loved the movie, even though the little girls called me out after the movie was over and the lights came back up. They waved from their place across the theatre and cried out, “Miss Kim! We saw you crying!” Others stared. They are heartless.
What a great girls’ night out! We laughed, we cried, I ate a hot dog.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!