May 18, 2013

Into the darkness

The movie theater was filled with young men mostly. In fact, I think I was probably the only woman over the age of thirty. That’s what happens whenever I go to a superhero movie.

I’m also usually the most clueless person in the theater. “What are we seeing?” I asked as I sat down next to Jedi Knight. “Star Wars? Star Trek? Iron Man? Tin Man? The Cowardly Lion?”

“Eh, what do you care? You don’t really come for the movie,” said Jedi Knight. He’s a former student who once stayed at our house for a few weeks so that he could stay in Snowstorm Region and finish up an EMT course. That was more than ten years ago, but he still comes with us whenever my husband gathers the kids to see a movie.

He was right, of course. I don’t really attend these events for the movie. I come early with my husband to save seats, and I spend the time catching up with extras I haven’t seen in a while. Jedi Knight, for example, spent his winter down south, attending grad school and has just returned for the summer.

“We need ten more seats,” my husband said, counting. Jedi Knight and I tossed sweatshirts onto a bunch of seats to save them, and then sat down to chat while my husband went out to buy popcorn and lemonade, which is the other reason I come to the movies.

By the time I’d heard about Jedi Knight’s semester and gotten the scoop on his girlfriend, the rest of the kids had arrived. Beautiful Smart Daughter and Sailor Boy grabbed the seats right behind us. With-a-Why carried a pad of paper covered with math formulas, and he was explaining calculus problems to his girlfriend Shy Smile as they sat down. Yeah, he’s a fun date.

Blue-eyed Ultimate Player sat down next to me. “I got into all the grad schools I applied to,” he told me. He’ll be heading back to his home state soon, but he promised to visit over the summer.

The tradition of going out to the movies began when the kids were small, and I needed a quiet house for grading papers. My husband would gather up our kids — and any extras — and take them to the movie theater. That would give me at least a couple of hours of quiet on a Saturday afternoon. Now of course, most of the kids arrive in their own vehicles, summoned by a text message from my husband. And my role has changed. I’m now eager to spend time with the kids, rather than eager for a couple hours away from them.

The movie was the same movie we always see: some superhero has some kind of personal crisis, we get a glimpse of his past, an evil villain threats the planet or the Starfleet or whatever, the plot twists lead to battles that involve some macho hand-to-hand combat (always puzzling, given the crazy futuristic technology available), and then the movie ends with a touching moment that involves some kind of sacrifice on the part of our hero, who mutters clichés as dramatic music alerts us to the fact that this is indeed a profound moment. Eh, whatever. It’s all good.

Afterwards, we stood outside in the hallway, some of us talking about the movie and others of us mocking it. Most of us are still on the academic calendar, which means we were all feeling relaxed and happy. Then eventually, we made it to the door and out into the parking lot, everyone heading home.


Sarah Sometimes said...

I love it when I am the first commenter! That sounds like it was a fun evening. Greetings from Southern City, where my conference is over but my plane doesn't leave for another few hours.

Cindy said...

Ha! I love your description of the plot.