This is hugely rant-y, but what can I say? I rant sometimes.
I am secretly an 80 year-old woman. Not chronologically, but internally. I have fun. I really do. But my patience for the things happening in the world around me has fallen drastically in the last 10 years, to the point that I firmly believe that the whole world IS going to heck, just like my grandpa always said, and that we are all screwed.
On Sunday, I sat down on the floor, drew my knees up to my chest, and leaned my upper arm on my knee for approximately five seconds. I have a massive bruise on my arm from where it gently rested on my knee. I moved my arm, felt a twinge, looked down, and watched the bruise form within a few seconds. So I bruise like an old person already.
I spent about 14 hours, at the end of last week and through the beginning of this one, painting a backdrop to use in our summer reading program photobooth. My spine is ruined forever.
But never was my old age more obvious to me than during my first viewing of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. *
I went with The Brother, Jennifer, Brandon, and Andy. We went to the AMC theater, which is freaking expensive for this area. If I go to the movies in Huntington, it's $7.50 for a ticket. In Wabash, it's $5.00. At AMC, it's almost $10.00, which is just crazy for this part of the country. ** That is not counting popcorn, which should come with the ticket, because you cannot have a movie without popcorn, or the gas you have to use to DRIVE to the theater, which is a lot. I would not mind so much if AMC was not also the theater that advertises the most prior to a movie. I do not want to pay to be advertised to.
So I thought, I will do what my friend Abby told me to do, which is to get the loyalty card. They were half off. She said that it made it almost comparable to going to a normal theater, and you can get $10.00 off every once and a while. So I did it.
Then we went in and got seats. As we were buying tickets, getting drinks, and sitting down, I watched what looked like two 11-12 year old boys and two girls around that age buying tickets, then heading in to the same theater. They sat in the front row.
I am childless and unwed, but I spend all day with kids, and I like them. Some parents think people with kids don't get it, but I see what life with kids is like. I see it all day. I know it's next to impossible to corral children, take them from place to place, work a full time job, and still manage to keep them (and yourself) clean, fed, and out of oncoming traffic. It is not the same as being a parent myself, but it is enough to teach me that I'm not interested in that sort of thing. I think you have to love your kids more than you hate what being a parent puts you through, and I don't think that's who I am. I'm selfish, and that's okay, because I'm single and unwed. If I weren't, I'd have to change, but I am, so I won't.
I have pulled kids off shelving units, brought them in from where they were playing unaccompanied in the parking lot under the tires of an idling SUV, bandaged knees, and read story after story out loud. I have been the sole caregiver to a group of five kids ranging in age from ten to two years old when their parents decided the library was cheaper than daycare. Being a librarian is about books, but it also contains a mixture of the job responsibilities of a preschool teacher and a social worker. When I'm finished with work for the day, I'm emotionally and physically exhausted and all I want is to leave work and spend time around adults who know to sit quietly at the table, to not launch the stub of their ice cream cone across the table like a cannon, and to refrain from smearing food on the ground even though no one knows where the food came from in the first place. I like my peace and quiet. I like it so much, I avoid going to kid places, like Red Robin, Walmart, and...the movies.
Through the entire movie, these kids talked. They didn't just whisper, they shouted, because they couldn't hear each other over the sound of the movie. It never occurred to them that their conversation was less important to those around them than the movie. They also couldn't yell loudly enough, so they would shuffle seats every few minutes in order to shout directly into the ear of the person they wanted to speak with.
They also had their phones out the whole time.
After the first 20 minutes, I got up and talked to one of the ushers. The manager came in and told them to be quiet. Nothing happened. I went back out and talked to the same manager. Nothing happened.
At that point, I figured what the heck. The manager wasn't DOING anything. I half expected her to come back and check, but no.
So I lost my temper a bit. I fumed through the second half of the movie, and by the time it was over, had resolved to Do Something.
I went out to the lobby and complained about the whole experience. I asked the manager (the same woman) what people had to do to get kicked out of an AMC theater. Apparently, one more complaint from me would have ousted them.
But let's think about that. I spent about 20 minutes of that movie walking to and from the theater and discussing the problem first with ushers, then with the manager when they fetched her from the office. I spent the remainder of the movie dealing with the kids. Should I have had to go back out and complain some more? Should my entire movie-going experience be dedicated to ensuring that my fellow viewers actually get to enjoy the movie I paid to miss?
(All of those questions where rhetorical.)
The manager gave me a free pass to come see another movie, but really. If I come back with that free pass, will my movie be the same? I think it will. I think enough parents think it's okay to drop off their kids to see a PG-13 movie (even though they aren't old enough), that there will be other kids next time. I think the theater doesn't bother to check ages, even if they could, because it would hold up the lines and the kids don't have IDs to check anyway. They can lie. I think even if the parents had been there sitting next to those kids, nothing would have been different.
I think theaters should require you to bring your own headphones, so you can put them on, block out the noisy people around you, and hear only the movie you're watching.
I think that there should be a Vow of Silence movie theater, which will not admit anyone under the age of 21 and involve cones of solitude so that you can watch your movie in peace.
I think that more films should be available for iTunes rental the second they hit theaters, so you don't have to be anywhere near people if you want to watch them.
I think this is why people build movie theaters in their basements.
I also think I'd better be careful on stairs, in case I fall and break a hip.
* Yes, I missed Loki, but I love this movie so much, I have already been again and will go some more for SURE, because Avengers. Basically, it is everything a movie needs in one package. Action, adventure, wordplay, running gags, and Joss Whedon.
** Before you start, yes, I know this is still cheap if you live in a more populated area. I mean, I was shocked when Kelly told me how expensive the movies were in the city! But I do not live in the city, where movie tickets cost lots of money. I live in the country, where you basically have to bribe us to go out in the evening and do anything other than watching high school sports. We do not earn enough to afford entertainment budgets beyond the cost of a tenderloin at the county fair. Know your demographic, AMC.