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Last night we went to watch the new Transformers movie on the big iMax screen. As we got out of the car in the theater parking lot, in a rush to get good seats, a young man approached and asked if we had jumper cables.

Luckily I did not have jumper cables, because if I did, I knew we would be late for the movie. I did my best to make a face that said, "I sure wish I could help," while being secretly gleeful that this was officially not my problem.

I wondered if the young man thought I was lying about not having jumper cables. My fake sincerity face looks like a mime with an intestinal infection. I felt I needed to sell my concern just a bit more, but without making us late for the movie. So I asked, "Do you have a cell phone?"

Now keep in mind that 110% of all young men his age group, at least around here, have cell phones. The figure is higher than 100% because some people carry two, in case one has a low battery. So there was no real risk of him asking to use my phone. And besides, who goes to the movies alone at that age? Surely his pack of friends was nearby, all with cell phones if not jumper cables.

But no. This was the one young man in the solar system who had no phone, no friends, and a dead battery. So I handed him my beloved BlackBerry and hoped he wouldn't start running in the other direction. He looked fast. But he was legit, and dialed his mom.

If you want to imagine how his end of the conversation went, recall George Costanza from Seinfeld talking to his mother. It went something like this:

Guy: "Can you tell Dad to come get me? My battery is dead."

Guy: "Why does it matter?? I was listening to the radio. Just tell Dad..."

Guy: "Just tell Dad..."

Guy: "Mom, can you just tell Dad to..."

Guy: "MOM!!!! CAN YOU PLEASE PUT DAD ON THE PHONE!!!!"

Meanwhile, I'm tapping my feet, looking around, trying to look impatient without crossing the line into full jerk mode. I don't want to get the worst seat in the iMax theater. That's not a good one.

Now the young man's conversation turns to describing where he will be standing when his father arrives.

Guy: "I don't know, maybe near Fudruckers."

Guy: "FUDRUCKERS! FUDRUCKERS!"

Guy: "Or maybe by Game Stop. Near Fudruckers. Or I could just walk over and stand by the Game Stop. It's by Fudruckers. Fudruckers. Fudruckers."

Surely this conversation was coming to an end, I assumed. I imagined only one seat left in the theater. My heart was pumping and my palms were sweaty. We already had our tickets. I sent my best ESP messages to him: Please hang up. Please hang up. But things only got worse.

Guy: "I think it's in the dryer."

Guy: "Yes, in the dryer. Because it was wet."

Guy: "I know you think it was on the couch but it's in the dryer."

Guy: "Yes, I'm sure it's in the dryer. JUST LOOK IN THE DRYER!!!"

At that point I reached my limit. I started giving the slice-my-own-neck signal to him to cut the call short. I mouthed "We're late for the movie." He got the hint.

Guy: "Mom, I have to go."

Guy: "Look in the dryer."

Guy: "Because I have a borrowed phone."

Guy: "Just look in the dryer. And tell Dad I'll be by the Game Stop."

Guy: "Not Fudruckers, but next to it. By the Game Stop."

Guy: "JUST LOOK IN THE DRYER!!! MOM! I GOTTA GO!"

Phone retrieved, we raced to the theater. There were exactly two seats left, on the far end, in the front. If you haven't been to an iMax theater, the screen is the size of a three story building. From my vantage point up close I could tell that motion was happening on the screen, but I couldn't discern what it was. I think the movie was about robots that fight, but I can't be sure.

I spent the next two and a half hours wishing I could meet the a-hole who decided to squeeze a few more seats into the iMax theater by putting them where no human being could enjoy the show. I'm peaceful by nature, but I'd make an exception for that guy.

Attempting to look at the screen was a losing strategy because it was just headache inducing. Luckily I can nap literally anywhere. I even fall asleep when I'm having my teeth cleaned (true). So I had a nice snooze through most of the movie, and I needed it. I guess it all worked out.

 
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Jun 30, 2009
Scott - you've earned extra brownie points in the Cosmos for your kind action. Too bad you got lousy seats, but you did something good. The world is a little better for actions like you did. Thanks.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
To avoid these situations, you want to make sure to make a suggestion, rather than an offer. The suggestion doesn't even have to apply, it still lets you make a 'contribution' followed by an escape.

For this situation, you might suggest, 'if it's a manual, you could try push-starting it.' Or, more helpful, 'I think they have a battery cart in the movie office.'

Also, I live in Austin, and there are in fact crap seats in the Imax. I've seen worse on other places, but still, there's value in being early.
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
here in austin, our local imax doesn't have those up front seats. in fact, there isn't a bad seat in the house! plus, no food or drinks are allowed, and you can't come in late. It is probably the best movie expernce there is
 
 
 
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