Thursday, March 22, 2012

Talking to the picture screen

Sunny Saturday, my friend and I arrived at the theater a little too early and decided to sit on the parking lot curb and soak up that too-early-summer sun.

A bright red car pulled in the space where we sat, handicap-labeled, and an old woman got out of the passenger side and smiled. My girlfriend explained that we were just sitting there waiting for the show, and the woman was pleased to be sharing the same adventure. "I'm going to the show too."

Her caretaker quickly rounded the car to steer her away, but my friend asked what the woman was seeing. She didn't know, so we offered that we were seeing The Artist.

The caretaker was giving us sympathetic looks, trying to guide the woman away as she talked more and more. Then my friend said, "Maybe you'd like The Artist," and the caretaker smiled and laughed, nudging the woman on, glancing back at us to say, "Ohhh, she talks the whole way through."

In the dark, the movie started. A sparse audience, maybe fifteen people. And there, that voice. "Oh, look, isn't that cute!" and "Oh he won't want to do that" and "Now she's going to ..."

Behind us, some audience members began hissing "shhhh, shhh, shhhh." They were angry at the intrusion on the film and their absorption. I understood.

But ... we'd met the woman. She was real. This was her adventure. Each time she talked, I had to laugh, look at my friend and smile.

There's always a story behind people and their situations. It helps to discover it.