Last night I had a date with the new guy, who we’re gonna call “C”. It was, in fact, a perfect example of the kind of date I described in my last post, except I was organizing it. We sort of take turns planning the dates, but not in a cutesy “Oh, honey, let ME plan this one! (giggle)” sort of way. Its more of an “Ok, you plan this one because I planned the last one” sort of way.
So last night was my turn. And I had a plan. I had bought a Groupon for movie tickets, so I proposed we go to the movies – an activity I love (mostly because of the popcorn) and rarely do. C agreed and then told me to surprise him with what movie because he said “I like surprises!”
Well, I aim to please.
The tickets were through Fandango. You had to go on the Fandango site, click on the tab for theaters that accept Fandango, then enter your zip code. No problem.
A list of theaters came up and the first was the Regal Cinema in Fairfax and it had a few movies I wanted to see at convenient times. I was about to order the tickets when I thought to double check with him regarding exactly what time he could pick me up.
Because I’m all about the details.
With the pick up time confirmed, I selected the movie and purchased the tickets. I very carefully read through all of the instructions regarding redeeming the tickets because I’ve never used Fandango before. I had the option to write down a confirmation code and redeem the tickets at the theater, OR print out the tickets and just walk in with them. I decided to print them out because that seemed the more reliable option, and I didn’t want to take any chances on my date night.
I double checked that I had the tickets twice before I left work.
About 10 minutes before he was supposed to pick me up, I decided to switch purses, and very carefully made sure I transferred the tickets into the new purse. Because forgetting to do that is totally something I would do. But not this time. This was my night, and I. was. on it.
He picks me up exactly on time (actually a few minutes early) because that’s how he rolls. For the first time, I was ready to walk out the door as soon as he knocked. Because we had a schedule tonight, and I was not going to make us late for the movie.
We park with 15 minutes to spare before the movie starts, plenty of time to load up on the popcorn and candy we’d already discussed purchasing.
As we approach the theater, I start to wonder exactly how the ticket thing works. What I printed out looks a lot like an actual ticket and I’m assuming we just give that to the high school kid who rips the tickets… I start to get a little anxious at this unknown element in my date plan, but since there hadn’t been time for a dry run, I have no choice but to assume it will be fine.
The theater is basically empty, and we head for the little opening in the ropes that separate the lobby from the concession and the theaters and…there’s no one there. We stand there for a minute and look around, printed out tickets in my hand ready to present, and no one comes over. So we walk through and go to the concession stand and order our large popcorn with butter and Goobers (which I’ve never actually ordered at a movie before, but completely agree with C that “it’s just fun to say”.)
As we stand at the concession stand I look at the lists of movies playing down each hallway, looking for our theater…and I don’t see our movie listed. I think this is the real benefit of the kid who rips the tickets – directing us toward the appropriate theater. We get our popcorn and soda and Goobers, and C starts to walk in the direction I’m looking. I’m feeling a vague sense of anxiety starting to build, although I’m ignoring it.
“I don’t see the movie listed…” I say to C as we start to walk down one hallway.
“OK,” he says “Maybe its just not listed.” And he keeps walking. I start scanning based on movie times, thinking maybe they are displaying an abbreviated version of the title that I don’t recognize. But nothing lines up.
We get to the end of the hallway and C, still totally unconcerned because he still has a basic and reasonable level of trust in me, says “huh. Well, maybe its in the other hallway.” But I’m suddenly overcome with a panic, because I know me, and I do not have a basic or reasonable level of trust in me. My brain starts spitting out every detail related to this event, highlighting the ones I didn’t double check. They all lay in a jumble on the floor of my brain like tiles spilled from a Yahtzee cup.
C starts to walk back down the hallway, idly munching popcorn as I sift through the pieces and suddenly hit on the glowing neon yellow piece…
The name and address of the theater.
“Hang on!” I say to C as I stop dead in my tracks. “Hold this” I shove the popcorn at him as I reach into my purse. I pull the tickets out of my purse and start to look at them, and he says “it’s not going to say the theater”, meaning the actual theater within the building. Because he can’t contemplate the very real possibility that…
Wait, it’s not just a possibility.
“I think we’re in the wrong theater” I say finally, staring at the name and address of the theater, still not sure of the exact name/address of the building in which we are standing, and yet fairly positive it is not what is on the paper.
Because this is my life.
C says something like “well, we’ll just go to the other hallway - ” because he still doesn’t get it.
“NO.” I say, showing him the paper. “We’re like, AT the wrong theater.”
He looks down, and reads off the address, looks up at me with a confused look on his face, as he clearly tries to work out which theater we are in, and which theater the tickets might be for.
Suddenly I know. “Is this,” I say pointing to the paper “the theater down the road? Over where TJ Max is?”
Realization dawns on his face. I want the floor to swallow me up.
“We’re in the wrong theater?!” He says with a loud laugh, half question, half statement.
I look at our large bucket of popcorn, soda, and Goobers, and I know without looking at the clock that we don’t have time to go to the other theater.
“We’re staying here. We’re just going to see another movie,” I announce, and as I do when I’m embarrassed, I start moving fast in an attempt to get past this moment in my life and perhaps convince myself it never happened.
C is laughing as he walks beside me, but I can tell he’s laughing with me, not at me. Even though he’d have every right to laugh at me. Loudly. I giggle a little bit at the ridiculousness that is my life, as I try to focus on the names of the other movies starting soon.
“How about this one?” He says, and I look at the title unable to recall what it’s about. He starts to summarize the plot and I immediately agree realizing there was no chance on earth I’d challenge any suggestion he made at that moment.
As we walk into the theater C is still chuckling and says “OK, note to self, always verify all details.” There is a part of me that wants to protest that this is not the norm… but who am I kidding? This is absolutely the norm. I tell myself it’s better that he sees this now while it’s still early, because even though he’s heard most of my stories, and read this blog in its entirety, nothing could really prepare him for the reality of my inability to properly navigating the world. He starts to laugh again, shakes his head and says “And you even planned this in advance!”
“I know!” I say, laughing despite myself, because its pretty much the only thing to do at this point.
As we settle into our seats, he starts to laugh again and says almost to himself “The wrong theater! Oh my god,” and I look over to see if this is an indication that, as the reality sinks in, he’s becoming less amused, perhaps envisioning a future filled with wrong theaters, wrong restaurants, missed planes, and driving miles in the wrong direction because I said I had it under control.
All very realistic scenarios.
But he’s looking back at me with a wide grin and he says “You are so cute,” and leans in to drop a quick kiss on me.
So, at least I’ve got that going for me.