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Feeling Not So Perky

When my friend handed me the screening passes, it was hard not to jump up and down get excited.  A free movie – one we wanted to see anyway – one that was appropriate for both kids to watch (a rarity!) – and to get to see it BEFORE everyone else!  Sounded like a dream!

“You are so about the perks,” my husband said.

No-o-o!  It is all about the kids – look how excited they are – they have been wanting to see this since they first heard about it months ago. 

“Yeah.  Wonder who got them so excited about it??  You've got the whole night planned out. You and your rose-colored glasses!” 

Hmmm. 

Movie
Here we were – 3 excited family members with 3 free movie-screening passes.  No need to feel bad for my husband (he was going to be out of town on business); it would all work out perfectly.

Yet, as the date got closer, my enthusiasm started to wane.  Sure it was free – but by the time I drove into the city, paid for parking and the bridge toll, it would be just as expensive as paying to see it in my town’s own theater.  But whatever, it’s not about the money, right?

The fine print on the passes read, “Seating is first come, first served.”  This means getting there early, standing in line (ugh)…and then again, it IS a school night; maybe it is easier better to just stay at home.  But now (thanks to my earlier sales pitch) I have two pairs of eager eyes looking up at me – no, we will press on.

Screening
We get into the city, wolf down a quick dinner and are waiting in line by 5:40pm.  We chat with this woman in front of us, who is there (like me) with her 2 kids.  My kids wait as patiently as they know how for this big event.  What about the popcorn you promised, my son wants to know?  Oh, but now the line is starting to move – can’t take a chance on that now.  Later, I say reassuringly. 

At 6:10pm we make our way into the theater, where it quickly comes apparent there are not 3 seats together.  There didn’t seem to be 3 seats to be found ANYWHERE – except for all those empty seats in the two Reserved rows (for all those lucky VIPs).  It is official; I hate this. 

I search for a theater worker, begging him to help us find seats.  Not his problem, he tells me.  It’s a special event – he just works there.  Okay – well, thanks so much.  Then what about all those poor fools people still waiting in line outside the theater?  If there aren’t any seats for us to be found, what are all of them going to do?  Line hysteria quickly sets in (much to the man’s chagrin) but that wasn’t solving OUR problem. 

My son can’t seem to get his head around the fact that it would seem like we are not about to get to see this movie.  His lip is trembling, although he’s trying to be strong, but I can tell he doesn’t understand why we could have passes to this (and have come all this way) and then NOT get to see the movie. 

Both kids look so disappointed and at this point neither is saying a word.  I wanted to find the person in charge (who apparently does not exist) to have him or her look at their faces (no tantrums here — just real sadness and confusion) and explain to them why we didn’t have a seat. 

It’s now 6:20pm and I've switched strategies; I am now working on the person in charge of the roped off VIP seats.  Two minutes before show time, if they are not all filled, she said she would release them to the rest of us common folk.  But now others are getting wise to my plan and hovering around her just like me.  It’s getting ugly.  Trying to look on the bright side, I’m thrilled I didn’t waste my money on popcorn; having a tub of popcorn and no movie to go with it would just be too much to bear.

Then someone taps me.  It’s the woman who had been standing in front of us in line – who had later hopped up closer to the front of the line because she saw someone she knew.  She pulled me over to where she was sitting – where 2 lone seats were hiding under some coats and bags.  If you can put your daughter on your lap, she told me, they’re yours!  And just like that, we had seats! 

We don’t think about cause and effect very often, but it is around us all the time.  I had struck up a conversation with that lady while we were waiting in line.  It was apparent we were from very different walks of life, but I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to her.  I was gracious about saving her spot in line so she and her kids could walk around a bit while we were waiting.  I hadn’t done it with intention; I was just being nice.  And yet, the effect of my actions was that she saw us and our predicament (no seats) and came to our rescue.  She didn’t have to, of course.  But she did.  And thanks to her we were now watching the movie instead of heading back home. 

As far as the movie goes, thumbs up from my son, thumbs down from my little girl – who found it too scary for her liking (this is the little girl who has seen Star Wars – but maybe seeing it up on a big screen makes it that much more real than watching it at home – which is what we usually do).  We got home after 9:00pm (way after their bedtimes) and actually into bed even later.  Somehow, I had forgotten to factor that part in.

Was it worth it?  Well, the night was certainly not how I had envisioned it (my life-long problem with these dang rose-colored glasses).  But the drama of not having seats — and the nice gesture of that lady — certainly made an impression on my kids – even if the movie didn’t that much.  I think I learned I am going to think things through a little more ahead of time before selling my "great" ideas to my children. 

But is this Zen Mama Wannabe ready to ditch those rose-colored glasses once and for all?  Not on your life!  Besides, there is a book signing happening here next week with our all-time favorite chef Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)!  An afternoon in the city, the chance for us to actually meet Ina Garten, getting her brand new cookbook…..sounds so fun, doesn’t it??  Ah yes, here we go again! 

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