Sunday, November 21, 2010


It took a lot of arm twisting, but I actually convinced my husband to take me to a matinee of the movie “Unstoppable” last week.

I’m not sure why he wasn’t crazy about going. I mean, it’s not that the movie was a soppy tearjerker with a lot of female stuff in it that he’d probably snore through. “Unstoppable,” according to the previews, was a true story about a runaway train barreling unattended at speeds of over 70 mph through heavily populated towns in Pennsylvania – something I thought he wouldn’t mind seeing.

Not only that, we had a gift certificate to the theater, so the matinee wouldn’t cost us a thing.

Still, my husband complained so much, you’d think I was dragging him to see a matinee performance of Swan Lake.

“My knees really hurt today,” he said as we headed toward the theater. “I hope the place doesn’t have a lot of steps. We’ll have to sit right down front if it does.”

The thought of having to lie on my back to see the screen didn’t really appeal to me. Whenever the train appeared on the screen, I’d probably feel as if it were about to run over me.

The minute we entered theater number one, where our particular movie was showing, I knew we were in trouble. The place had stadium seating, just like in a big football stadium, with stairs as high as the eye could see. I climbed about halfway up and then walked across the row and plunked down in a seat in the middle. I looked to my left, waiting for my husband to take the seat next to mine. He wasn’t there.

I stood up and peered down at the stairs. He was still standing on the third one.

“Why’d you go way up there?” he asked, groaning. “Can’t we stay down here?”

I made my way back down the stairs and gazed up at the screen from where he was standing. There was some kind of advertising photo on the screen. All I could see was a giant nostril.

“The movie doesn’t start for another 10 minutes,” I said. “Just take one step at a time and you can make it up to a better level.”

The stairs weren’t steep, but there were plenty of them. I waited as my husband climbed them…slowly.

“That’s 14!” he finally said, breathless. “That’s as far as I’m going!”

The row wasn’t exactly halfway up, but at least I could see the entire screen. Once again, I sat in one of the middle seats. There were only two other people in the entire theater and they were a couple rows in front of us, so I had my choice of just about any seat in the place. I could have stood up in the seat or stretched out across three of them and no one would have noticed.

My husband chose an aisle seat to the far left of the screen.

When I looked over at him, he motioned for me to move next to him. I shook my head and motioned for him to come sit near me. He shook his head. I didn’t want to see the movie from one side or the other, I wanted to see it from a point that was an equal distance from both sides.

So neither of us budged. Talk about a romantic movie date.

Finally, when the theater darkened and the previews began, my husband made his way over to the seat next to mine.

“My back is killing me,” he said. “If I sit here for two hours, I won’t be able to get up again! And I forgot to get popcorn!”

“If you eat popcorn, you’ll get thirsty and then need something to drink,” I said. “And if you have something to drink, you’ll end up having to go to the restroom during the middle of the movie.”

“No, I won’t,” he said.

So I flew down the stairs and got him some popcorn and a bottle of water. For what they cost, I could have ordered prime rib at a fancy restaurant.

The movie turned out to be a real nail-biter…a very loud one. The speakers were cranked up so high, the roaring of the trains actually made my head vibrate.

During one especially exciting part, where a helicopter was attempting to lower a guy onto the speeding train, my husband leaned over and whispered to me, “I have to go to the men’s room.”

“Then go,” I said, my eyes riveted on the screen.

“But it’s 14 steps down and 14 steps back up,” he said. “I don’t know if I can make it!”

“I don’t think you have much choice,” I whispered back. “Unless you want to sit here and use your water bottle!”

He got up and headed to the bathroom…and missed one of the best parts of the movie.

I still haven’t heard the end of it. You would think he’d missed seeing the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl.

“We’re going to have to rent the movie now when it comes out on DVD!” he said just yesterday. “I want to see the part I missed!”

I haven’t mentioned to him that our cinema gift-certificate still has $16 left on it. I figure I can use it to see a couple more matinees…alone.