Monday, April 23, 2012

Seat Savers Beware

I convinced Jon to take me to a Friday matinee of The Hunger Games on opening weekend. We bought our tickets on Fandango a few days ahead of time, we arrived to the theater early, and we stood in line with our barrel of popcorn and two of the largest drinks ever poured.

A few girls in front of us let us know that a couple of their friends would be joining them. I should have taken this as a considerate FYI and said "Cool, no problem". But I was in line to see a movie about kids killing each other in a post-Apocalyptic sporting I was feeling a little bit feisty. To make sure their actions were on the up and up, I good naturedly grilled them on their definition of 'a couple'. Had they said more than two, I would have granted them back-cuts only. But they looked frightened, and Jon was shaking his head at me, so I let them proceed.

When we moved into the theater we got great seats - Third row up in the desirable section. We sat for a few moments and made small talk as best we could, but we were distracted by what was happening in the row in front of us. A girl and two of her friends were saving almost every seat in the row. One after the other we watched as groups of people were told by this girl that they couldn't sit in those seats. And she didn't really say it nicely either - she was sort of bitchy/matter of fact about it. Probably sensing critical eyes on her, she told her wimpy friends to continue to save the seats while she left the theater, texting all the while like an unsocialized heathen.

As the theater filled up, it seemed every single person that walked in tried to sit in the saved seats. The two kids left holding the seats weren't quite as bold as their bitchy friend, so they weren't quick enough on the draw. Several times they had to tell people to "get up", rather than just waving them off in the first place.

One person that was turned away seemed to be a little buzzed and she decided to sit in the one empty seat to my right. I was leery about engaging in chit chat with her, because you know how sometimes you do that and the person ends up being BAT SHIT CRAZY? I just wasn't in the mood.

So finally, after basically the entire town was denied by these kids, a somewhat tough guy and his girlfriend sat down. They didn't bother to ask permission. When one of the kids said to them "Uh, sorry, those seats are taken", homeboy just looked back and said matter of factly, "No."

Like, "not only am I not buying what you are selling, but I actually own you. Quiet over there."

But since they'd only just walked in the theater, they didn't know the resentment building up towards this adolescent party, so his girlfriend did what I would have done and said "I see two seats a few rows up, lets just take those". And so they did.

But when the next group was told they couldn't sit there, the people had had ENOUGH - it was a sold out show on opening day! We sat in line, our Icees had long since melted, we were full on popcorn, and we were all fucking irritated by the (only) teeny bopper in the Team Peeta T-Shirt and we still had like 20 minutes before show time. The guy directly behind us finally said "UM, Excuse me. You can't save the whole row" and like a flame in the desert on a windy day, Jon and I were like 'YEAH! It doesn't WORK that WAY!"

The ladies that ended up in the hot seats were more than willing to get up for the diva, but we, the audience, wouldn't have it - we practically threatened them to get them to stay put: "She has to learn the lesson some time", even if we have to turn a few bystanders into martyrs.

The girl started going on and on about how the seats were for her family, and that her family was in the lobby right now, and that any minute said family would be joining her. A likely story, we all thought.

We're all assuming that "her family" is going to pan out to be the entire ASB of her middle school, but when it did in fact turn out to be her mammoth of a mother and her six year old brother, shit sort of hit the fan. Big Mama wanted to know, while towering over the seats that would have been theirs "Who took 'em???" the snotty girl answered inaudibly, and then the mom said "Who told you you couldn't save them??" and the girl made a gesture to insinuate "that random group of strangers all around me". Some hostile words were then exchanged between those of us on the right side of morality and the mother/daughter duo - and when things reached a fever pitch, the daughter said something like "This is crazy!! WE saved them! They're OURs!!" She may have even stamped her foot a little bit.

This is when the buzzed lone ranger next to me pipes up and says: "TALK TO THE HAND GIRLFRIEND!" - arm across my face, palm out, straight up, you got played 90's style - talk to the hand.

The girl, without missing a beat, threw the most Hollywood sassy face in the world, flipped the bird and shouts "Oh yeah?! Well. Talk to the FINGer!" Her mother tells her to cut it off right then and there, and with one final act of defiance, the charter school's spokes-girl yells "This is BULLshit!!" and stampers off with her cell phone - readied for texting.

Defeated, the mother sat in one of the two seats they needed (not the entire row, hello) and mumbled something to her poor, embarrassed, quiet 6 year old son about "contacting the station about this injustice".

Just then the lights lowered in the theater and the opening credits began to roll. The hitherto unseen theater manager finally made an appearance to make sure that "Everything was ok", and of course, by that time, it was.

The people had spoken and seat saving would never again be the same at Tinseltown, Chico.