Monday, December 22, 2008

The Movie Mutterer


My dear friend Steph agreed to meet me to see an arty movie last night.

I was detained at a doctor's appointment immediately before the film, and so found myself attempting to send text messages alerting Steph to my late arrival via a cell-phone concealed in my bag while the doctor continued to talk. It was less than classy.

Because the session was sold-out (it was an advanced screening for film club members), in a very small theatre, I suspected we may encounter a seating problem. I warned Steph of this before I swung open the retro Rialto door, and sure enough, the remaining two seats (ours) were in different rows, and at different ends of the theatre.

I shrugged (although disappointed - it's enough that I was missing trailers - I hate missing trailers, but to sit apart too?). My mantra: "The appointment was important, oh well".

I bumped my way down the aisle to the seat further away, and took my place at the seat second from the end, next to a solo movie-goer. As I settled into the chair, I waited for Mr Solo to offer to exchange seats with my movie companion so that we might sit together. Mr Solo stared directly ahead. I stewed. Would I say something? Some days I would have said something by now without a thought. In fact, I would have offered to pay for Mr Solo's ticket if he would make the trade (he would of course be expected to decline such generousity, but insist it was no problem to move). Why was I not in this mood today? I silently rehearsed the possible proposals I might make to convince Mr Solo he should swap. Was the baby bump large enough to use for sympathy yet? I silently resented Mr Solo for not recognising it was the gentlemanly thing to do all on his own.

It was too late. The production house logo appeared; our seating configuration was locked in.

The commencement credits began to appear on screen. I distinctly heard some noise coming from Mr Solo, at my right. Had he finally summoned the courtesy, albeit late? I snuck a corner-eye glance to see his lips moving beneath his hand, which he held before his mouth, his elbow perched on the armrest. My eyes returned to the movie screen. I then listened more keenly, and perceived Mr Solo was reading every word as it appeared on the screen.

As I came to terms with Mr Solo's unusual disease, and heard him orate each actress' and actor's name as they appeared in turn, I deliberated over my new inward state. I could not decide definitively whether I now desperately regretted not having swapped with this intrusive movie mutterer, or whether I should be rejoicing in relief that I had avoided conversing with such an unusual human.

It was at this point that I became aware of an odour I was certain also eminated from my right. Or perhaps I conjured it once the muttering started.

I hoped the film would not have sub-titles.

I then tuned in more intently to the incessant muttering - was he really doing it? Sure enough, "Producer... Line Producer... Co-executive Producer..." I began to smile at my ability to hear Mr Solo's every syllable with certainty. I felt as though I held the key to a puzzle, unavailable to anyone seated further away, who would most likely hear vexing rumblings, and scan fruitlessly thinking, "Where is that muttering coming from?".

And then, a wonderful thing happened. The next credit slide listed 8 names - many Spanish in origin. I bit my bottom lip and tried to conceal my elation as Mr Solo audibly sucked in his breath, and frantically, hastily, began muttering his way through the frame.

He didn't make it. Poor Mr Solo.

The movie was a bust.
Mr Solo however - well worth my $5.00 advanced screening ticket AND displacement.


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