Opinion:  A mix-up in movie directions


My wife, Mary Ellen, is never late for the movies. She is convinced that there will be traffic, no place to park and the film will be sold out. None of this is ever true, but we leave early and end up sitting in an empty theater for 20 minutes, waiting for the previews.

I hate previews. I can’t give you one logical explanation as to why. I sometimes sneak into a different movie and watch another film for a few minutes while I wait for our film to begin. I even take popcorn.

Last week, my adult son Brett wanted to see the new “Ghostbusters” flick.  My wife thought it would be fun for both of us to go with Brett. Mary Ellen said we should all leave early to ensure we got good seats. I wasn’t falling for it. It was a Tuesday night, and I knew the theater would be empty. This was just Mary Ellen’s ruse to see all the previews.

“I’ll meet you there,” I told her. “Keep your cellphone on and you can text me what row you are sitting in when I arrive late.”

“One ticket for ‘Ghostbusters,’ please, the 5 p.m. show,” I told the ticket seller when I arrived at exactly 5:10 p.m. I had timed this perfectly. The feature would soon be starting. I wouldn’t have to watch previews.

“There’s no ‘Ghostbusters’ at 5 p.m.,” the young man said. “How about the 5:30 movie in 3D?”

I assumed that’s where they were. I grabbed my 3D glasses and walked into the theater. It was more crowded than I thought. I didn’t see my wife or son. I sent a text to Mary Ellen.

“Where r u guys?”

“Eighth row, dead center.”

“I don’t c u.”

“Meet me at the concession stand,” Mary Ellen texted.

I waited and waited. Another text from Mary Ellen. “Where are you?”

“I am at the IMAX in Noblesville. That’s where we usually go.”

“I told you United Artists on 96th Street.”

This was the biggest mix-up in our marriage since our wedding day in Chicago in 1980, when I was at the Ambassador East Hotel having a few drinks and everybody else was at the Ambassador West wondering where I was. I should have read the invitation more carefully.

The movie had already started, so I had no idea what was going on. It was a “Hobbit” movie. Usually, I lean over and ask my wife or son to explain stuff, but I couldn’t because they were in Indy and I was in Middle Earth.

At home, Mary Ellen said she was concerned I was spacier than ever. I vehemently denied that. That night when we got ready for bed, Mary Ellen told me that now was probably a good time to take off my 3D glasses.