The Secret Dilemma of a Matinee Moviegoer

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… one of the great pleasures of my life is going to weekday matinee movies alone. I guess it’s not much of a secret now, but that’s neither here nor there. Weekday matinee movies are a dream. They offer a chance to escape the trials of everyday life and escape into a world of wonder and mayhem – usually in the privacy of your very own movie theater. Let me give you an example. I just saw Independence Day: Resurgence in 3D less than a week since its premier in a theater with one other human being. When I went to sit down, I made eye contact with the other solo moviegoer and we shared a moment of understanding and mutual respect. We nodded to each other acknowledging the most beautiful kind of friendship, the one where you don’t have to talk at all. You can just sit in the dark together and watch ridiculously attractive people slay aliens for two hours. It’s pure magic, really.

You are probably wondering what on earth the dilemma could be. I mean, I’m seeing a premier movie for about $7 in an empty theater on a weekday when I should probably be working. What could be the problem? I’ll tell you. It’s food.

Yep, you heard me, food. You see I love movie theater snacks just as much as the next person but I get a secret thrill from sneaking in my own food. Not only is it typically cheaper, but there are so many more options than popcorn or those nachos with the perplexing powdered cheese goo. Choosing what movie to see is usually the easy part for me, it’s choosing my secret snack that’s the real conundrum.

Now, I’m not going to lie. I’ve made some serious mistakes in the past. For example, there was the potato chip disaster of 2012. I had gone to see a new dramady at 1 PM on a Thursday and had chosen dill pickle flavored chips as my snack. I loaded the treats into my massive purse and waltzed past the snack bar feeling a surge of adrenaline rush through me. ‘Poor suckers eating their $10 small popcorn’, I thought. The movie began and I pulled open the bag of chips, preparing myself for a fantastic afternoon. The movie began with a slow and melancholy piano solo. I popped the first chip into my mouth and, to my horror, could no longer hear the movie over the sound of my chewing. What’s more, no one else could hear the movie over my chip-chewing either. I ceased snacking and waited for the movie to pick up a little. It never did. It was one of those movies that centers around two people sitting in various places and talking with long, loooooooong moments of silence in between.  I tried resting a chip on my tongue to let it dampen a little and buffer the sound, but no one wants to eat soggy spit chips, even if they are dill pickle flavored.

Another example takes us to the ice cream oversight of 2014. Anyone that knows me knows that I have no problem polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in one sitting. In fact, I’m usually jonesing for another. I had picked up a new limited edition Pumpkin Cheesecake flavor and stuck it in my purse. I’d learned my lesson about the chips and was not going to make that mistake again. I settled in and enjoyed the delicious treat – not making a peep I might add. The problem was that I couldn’t finish it. Turns out that one can only eat so much of the ice cream version of cheesecake and I had reached my limit. Disgusted with myself, I set the ice cream down next to my feet and resumed watching the movie. At some point, after the ice cream had become a gooey orange soup, I forgot all about it and kicked it over mid stretch. The pint container lay on its side and I watch with horror as the slimy mixture seeped onto the floor of the woman sitting in front of me. I grabbed my phone and turned on a light to assess the damage. The woman’s purse was sitting, bathing really, in disgusting creamy mess. I’m not going to go into what happened next, but it’s safe to say that there is one solo moviegoer out there who is NOT my friend.

The final happenstance brings us to the nacho massacre of 2015. I freaking love nachos. And not that nasty crap they serve at the theaters. I had popped into Whole Foods to peruse the isles in search of the perfect movie treat when, much to my delight, I discovered a ‘make-your-own nachos’ area. What genius had thought of this? I filled my little carton with chips and ground beef and cheesy goodness and jalapeños and guacamole. It was epic. I carefully lowered the closed container into my purse and headed into Theater 3. That was one of the best moviegoing experiences ever. Delicious nachos, action packed thrill, the works. Everything was going swimmingly until the movie ended and I stood up to leave. An avalanche of chip debris dropped from my lap with an embarrassing crackle. I brushed it off, no harm done. I exited the theater and popped in the bathroom. On my way to the stall I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had worn a white top that day and it looked like I had been stabbed repeatedly by the nacho monster. Cheese and grease and tomato residue was everywhere. I had no sweater or coat to hide my shame. I walked out of the theater, ignoring the mocking stares, branded with the scarlett ’N’. That’s right everyone, I cheat on the snack bar.

I’m sure there’s a video of me somewhere, practically running out of the theater as though I stole something. Perhaps the World Movie Federation is onto me and, the next time I go to take in a movie, they will force me to reveal the contents of my purse in front of everyone. If that is the case, I assure you, they won’t find chips, ice cream or nachos.

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