I have decided that I cannot possibly go to the cinema anymore. When you go to the cinema, you see, you are entirely too dependent on the people around you to be reasonable and sane. Most people in the cinema are reasonable and sane, of course, but every now and then you get one bird-brained knucklehead who breaks the social contract---the social contract of, you know public sanity and reasonableness---and ends up ruining it for the rest of us.
Take Saturday night, for instance. Sean and I had plans to go and see Up In The Air, which I ended up really liking, by the way, although I could watch George Clooney give a tutorial on folding a fitted sheet (in Ukrainian) (for seven hours) (while having my fingernails wrenched off with pliers) and still enjoy it, so maybe I am not the best judge of character. (Have you seen it? What did you think? Good, right?)
So we arrived a solid half hour before the movie started---I have a pathological fear of being late to the movies, and I get an actual feeling of dread if I walk in and the good seats are all taken and you have to be that person who goes excuse me excuse me pardon me sorry as you shuffle past everyone else, and it's always super awkward because you never know whether to shuffle past with your front towards them or your butt towards them, and oh god, I am breaking out in hives just thinking about it---and the theatre was already (already!) about three-quarters of the way full.
(I know! Right? Get a life, San Franciscans! You're supposed to be hip! Stop going to the movies on Saturday night! That's for lame old marrieds like me!)
We chose a couple of seats a few rows from the back, and we'd been sitting in them for about three minutes, when I decided that they simply wouldn't do. Have you been to the movies with me? Or to a restaurant? Oh, it's a joy. Nothing is ever good enough for me, seat-wise, at the movies or in a restaurant. No seat is the perfect seat. Wherever I am sitting, I wish I were sitting somewhere else. It's just this weird thing I have---ha! adorable! quirky! likely to inspire homicide in my poor beleagured companion!---and if that means we can't be friends anymore then hey, that's cool, I get it. It would probably be a dealbreaker for me too.
(Though in my defense, I should just say that the reason these particular seats weren't working for me this time is because they were way in the back of the theatre and my cracked eyeball meant I was wearing my glasses, the prescription of which has not been updated since the Bush administration, and I mean the first Bush. Basically I can see shapes when I am wearing my glasses. Sometimes primary colors, but only sometimes. If I am wearing my glasses and you suggest we meet on the corner near my house at 7pm, I will say hi to at least four people before you actually arrive because I will mistakenly think they are you. Two of them will be prostitutes. No offense to you, of course, that's kind of more a reflection on where I live. And also how crappy my glasses are.)
So we move seats, except by this time the theatre is now seven-eighths full---I have never seen such a punctual audience of movie-goers! What up, San Francisco, did you all get wristwatches for Christmas?---and the best available ones are about eight rows from the front on the end. Eight rows from the front on the end! Not bad, eh? Not bad at all. Well, that's what I thought too. These seats, however, were apparently empty for a reason.
"Do you smell feet?" I asked Sean a couple of minutes after we'd sat down, taken off our coats, and settled in. "Like, a kind of.....feety smell?"
"Nope," said Sean. "I don't smell feet."
I sniffed the air. It definitely smelled like feet. It wasn't my feet, I knew that, but I dutifully sniffed them anyway. My feet were ensconsed in my Costco Ugg boots----don't be hatin', these bitches are COMFY---which meant they smelled like marshmallows and happiness. I sniffed Sean's feet. They smelled like laundry detergent. I sat back in my seat.
"You can't smell that?" I said. "You can't smell those feet? My god, it smells like someone bought a whole wheel of Brie on sale at Wal-Mart and drove it out to the middle of Death Valley to rot for three days and then went back and collected it and put it in a FedEx box and FedExed it to Inner Mongolia, except the FedEx people were on strike so it ended up taking, like, three months to get there, and then when it got there, the guy in Inner Mongolia wasn't home to sign for it, so they shipped it back to the sender, except he was in Cabo for two weeks, so it sat on his doorstep until he got home, and oh, by the way, this was in Florida during a heatwave."
"Wow," said Sean. "Can't smell it."
So I sat through the entire movie with the feety smell all up in my business, eventually going so far as to just wrap my pashmina around the lower two-thirds of my face and breathe through that, which---needless to say----didn't work. During breaks in my gagging, I took the opportunity to surreptitiously sniff the feet of the people behind me, in front of me, and to the left of me (yeah, that was just about as weird and creepy as it sounds) and yet the feety smell never got stronger or weaker whichever way I went.
And anyway, what would I have done if it had? Stood up, flexed my muscles, announced I was making a citizen's arrest and uttered forth with "Excuse me, madam, you seem to be wearing a particularly ripe pair of sneakers this evening, could you step this way and maybe watch the movie from, oh, here in the aisle by the fire escape, please, fifty feet away from the other patrons? While standing?"
Yeah, probably not.
So that's why I've decided I can't go to the cinema anymore: not, as you might now suspect, because it might be full of weirdo feet-sniffers like me---though you certainly raise a good point; hello kettle, this is pot!---but because man, do you know how much a pair of stinky feet will ruin your movie-going experience? A whole lot, that's how much. George Clooney or no George Clooney, being forced to inhale the smell of someone else's cheesy feet for two hours (plus trailers) is enough to make you want to vomit. And there's no guarantee you won't have to, you know? It's all down to fate! So I'd rather stay home, wait for the DVD on Netflix, and watch my movies from the comfort of my couch. You can come over too. Just don't take off your shoes.