the most expensive movie we never saw

Day 12, NaWriMoPo daily November posts:

Well, it’s been a quiet day here in the Wasatch where, even as I sit here in the light of the  energy saving light bulb (that start off dim and get brighter the longer they’re on). I keep glancing out the window to see what the weather’s doing, but it’s only a slow drizzle so far, teasing us. Probably it’ll wait til the wee hours of the morning and confound everybody trying to drive to work as they slip and slide their way down the hill because the snowplow hasn’t made it this far up the benches yet.

Now that two or three weeks have passed since that day of which I plan to write today, maybe it’s time to tell the story to others. The hurt, or more truthfully the shame, has subsided sufficiently that I think it’ll be okay to to tell about it now. Don’t you dare blog about this, Hubby retorted at the time and to put his mind at ease, I agreed. Everything in it’s time, I decided. I learned in writing classes a long time ago that writing about an incident in the third person gives it distance and makes it easier to write  without getting swept away with emotion. Maybe that’s how this story should be told.

For weeks she’d wanted to see the new Michael Moore movie, CAPITALISM. So that morning over breakfast, when she saw the calendar presented nothing more pressing or interesting to do, she suggested that maybe today would be a good day to go to a matinee and see it at last.

But when they arrived at the movie complex–chosen because it had stadium seating–the ticket seller said it was sold out. She glanced at the next showing, and sure enough that show was sold out too. So were the next two. It was barely past noon and no one else was in sight; they’d driven a full half hour to get here–they were several minutes early. Surely that could simply not be right! Were they even showing the movie there? Or was it a ploy to lure people in order sell tickets to one of the other movies?

It made her so angry she said no to her husband’s suggestion to see one of the other 20 or so movies on the schedule. Could they still make it to the one other theater in town where the movie was scheduled to start in half an hour? He said, sure they could make it. The first 10 or 15 minutes after showtime were always used for previews anyhow. Piece of cake. They’d just jump in the car in drive downtown and see it there.

So they did. The problem was, they were so far on the side of town they weren’t familiar with, and they weren’t sure of the theater’s address. While there was no question they could find the it, it might take time and they needed to find it FAST. It would be best to know exactly what street it was on. So she went to work fiddling with the GPS built into the car’s dashboard. The nice voice would tell them exactly where to turn and when. First she laboriously typed in the crossroads where they thought the theater was located. No luck. So then she tried typing in the name of the theater. Still no luck. She scowled every time her husband suggested she try some different. He always thought she was inept at figuring out electronic things. Grrrrrrrrrr!

No the problem lay in the system…at some point in the menu it would shift to another window and a quick decision had to be made about which option to press next and it kept leading her to dead ends anyway. So she tried again. And again. And again.

All the time she struggled, he keeps driving and his foot is pressing the pedal a little harder and he doesn’t even realize it. He’s getting frustrated because she’s beginning to cuss a little. Okay, a lot, calling the instrument panel a…well, just imagine you know, ’cause you surely do if you have a little imagination. He keeps telling her to watch her language, there’s no call for that, and suggesting things she’s tried already over and over again.

All that time she’s getting madder and madder because she knows the problem is not her, the problem is the GPS that won’t let her enter what she needs to enter, dumb machine. This thing is absolutely useless, she cries out in annoyance, at just about the same time she sees him glance in the rear view mirror and hears him say “Uh Oh!” Then she hears the siren and feels the car pulling over to the road’s right, hears a frantic motorcycle cop shout, over there, I’m right in the lane of traffic here! a sitting duck to get hit!” And he was, as they were on an Interstate highway with about five lanes of traffic and cars were whizzing by. Who could possibly know where they were supposed to pull over on an interstate highway when they’d never been pulled over on a multi-laned highway before?!

When they were all finally properly positioned, over to the left of the fassssssssst lanes that were separated from the traffic going the other way by the railings, the young cop–just doing his duty–leaned in and said I pulled you over because you were going 65 mph in a 50 mph zone. At least he didn’t holler as us, she thought.

She began to see dollar signs with wings on them flying out the car window while the two men talked. Her hubby didn’t bother arguing because he knew he was as guilty as they come. He had been driving way too fast all the while he was trying to tell his wife how to program the GPS on the dash, so neither of them noticed the speed change, and how could he help it if his foot kept getting heavier and heavier? After all was said and done the nice young cop only charged them with going five miles over the limit, which was only $105! It could have been much worse.

Now this was a couple who’ve been known to drive miles out of the way just to get something they need for a couple dollars less. They were so careful with their expenses and prided themselves on how inexpensively they’ve managed to live from month to month since their retirement. They even managed to afford some nice travel and new shoes now and then, and they’d never had to go without a meal because they were so frugal. Damned movie anyhow. Because of Michael Moore they were going to have to fork over $105 just like that.

Afterward, they swallowed hard and fought their way back into traffic from the fast lane side and when they got through bickering and trying to fix the blame and she said that he had no one but himself to blame because he was driving and that meant he was the one that had to pay attention to the road signs. She was tired being blamed for everything, so there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. After a little more back and forth insulting, they finally cooled down a little, decided to laugh about it, it was only money after all, nobody had been hurt. So there they sat, mostly in silence, while they tried to decide what to do next. Maybe they should just go back home and watch television. That would be such a letdown, though, wouldn’t it?

No! she said emphatically. We can’t go home without doing something to distract us and take the bad taste out of our mouths. In he end, they looked at the clock and decided to go on and see the movie just like they’d planned, only downtown at the other theater. It was a cinch, he said, because the movies wasted so much time on previews anyhow so it wouldn’t matter if they were late. And after that she remembered the Yellow Pages under her seat where she could quickly look up the address in the black pages, so it was decided. Who needed electronic gadgets when they had a printed book of addresses under the seat?

They parked in the garage and rushed to the theater all out of breath. He plunked the plastic down and announced two for Capitalism please. The clerk swiped the card and handed him the receipt to sign. He was scribbling fast when she–just in case–thought it a good idea to ask has the movie started yet?

The clerk checked the schedule and looked at her watch and said Yes, it’s seven minutes in.

Into the movie? she said.

You mean into the previews, right? he said.

No, the movie, the clerk repeated.

Seven minutes! More like eight by that time. I don’t want to miss the first seven minutes, she said. Sometimes the opening minutes are crucial to the whole film. So the clerk refunded their money, and the two of them walked dejectedly back to the car. At least they were able to get the parking ticket validated, they reasoned, so they wouldn’t have to pay for parking at least.

Back in the car, the question arose for the second or third time that day, what to do now? Go home? It still seemed like a defeat go home, especially now that they felt insult had been added to injury. Give up, admit defeat–that they weren’t meant because of who knew what conspiracy by that first theater–to see a much anticipated movie on this day? There had to be something they could do to make them feel better–get control of their lives again.

Just as they were nearing the shopping strip where the Indian store was, she suggested they stop off to see if they could find some pre-made bhatura bread and frozen unsweetened coconut so they could go home and throw themselves into making a good Indian meal. Maybe some choli with the bhatura bread and some delicious coconut chutney. That would make both of them feel better.

There was no bhatura to be had. Maybe next week. Ugh! How many things can go wrong in one day!  Then she saw the fresh okra in the box on the table that held new shipments. It had been pretty much impossible to find fresh okra the whole summer. Not only did they have fresh okra there, it was fairly good okra–the tips still crisp, and the pods mostly small and tender. Fried okra always made her feel good. So she bought a whole lot of it along with the coconut they wanted.

They drove home and she cooked okra for dinner while he went online and paid the department of transportation $105 so he could get it out of his mind once and for all. Afterward, they agreed never to speak of it again. First one, and then the other, would begin to giggle like children who get caught licking the spoon in the candy pot when Mama’s not looking.

To this day they still haven’t seen the movie. Now they figure when they do see it, and they still hope to, they will always also associate it with a $105 speeding fine attached to it, thus it will always have the distinction of being the most expensive movie they’ve ever seen. And therein lies the dig. They figure if they wait long enough it’ll come out on DVD and be available at the RedBox rental kiosk where they can pick it up for overnight for just $1, then it’ll only have cost them $106.

9 thoughts on “the most expensive movie we never saw

  1. We laughingly called ourselves ‘the Bickersons’. There were moments in your retellling that sounded SO familiar.

  2. Wow, that was quite an adventure. It’s good to have a sense of humour about these things though. You can’t change them, but you can change how you look at them!

  3. Haha, oh, poor you, poor both of you! I’ve had that exact same argument with and about the GPS in our car, actually! I bet it’s the same brand. 🙂

    You know, in General Aviation they talk about the hundred dollar hamburger – basically, the tendency to get into the plane and fly to an airfield for lunch, as if the lunch there was somehow better, rather than it just being an excuse to fly. In that context, an okra meal of $105 doesn’t sound so bad. 😀

  4. maybe you should make moe and frank get it on netflix and then borrow it. you wouldn’t have to pay that $1 then.

    And, just think, it’s really only about $70 more than Ben and I pay to see a movie in nyc.

  5. Oh this is SOOOOO Lynn and I! In fact, I was working on a GPS blog already … those darned machines! I’m glad you shared this even though you were NOT supposed to. Third person made it legal, I’m sure. Everything either one of us does something dumb Lynn says, “Tell me you’re not going to blog this!” Of course I am!

  6. I missed this when you first posted it. Don’t know where my head is sometimes.

    I was driving with friends in Chicago last year with a GPS in the car. Going north on Lake Shore Drive the GPS lady kept telling us to turn right. The only thing right of Lake Shore Drive is the lake. So much for GPS.

  7. Pingback: It’s Time to Replace the "G B S" | Grandma Henke

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