From the Pastor: Unplanned
I went to see the movie Unplanned this week. I don’t get out to the movies too often, although I just saw Garabandal, so, though it’s only April I have now already seen two more movies than I saw in all of last year. At the ticket window was a group of 4, ahem, mature women. They couldn’t hear the ticket teller through the tinny-sounding speaker but they each had questions and they wanted answers. They were each talking at the same time, some asking the teller questions, some telling her they couldn’t understand her and others carrying on seeming random conversations with whichever other friend happened to not be speaking at the moment. The couple in front of me was getting a bit antsy as the minutes wore on, since the movie was about to start, but they were amused by the way the ladies just kept talking and switching places and misplacing their canes, which they kept either leaning against the booth or hanging from the little ledge before they moved around to yell into the microphone before being shoved aside by another one trying to put her ear to the speaker. The couple behind me (and that was the extent of the line) kept commenting on prices and discounts and how they compared to the Veterans 24. The mention of the AMC Veterans 24 reminded me that I stopped going to AMC theaters after I went to that theater one weekday afternoon and was told that I had to pick my seats before getting a ticket. I had never heard of such a thing but was assured that it was an AMC policy to keep people from fighting over seats when the place was crowded. That particular afternoon there were probably only a dozen people attending the matinee but, wouldn’t you know it, they were all loud talkers and bright texters and they all sat right around me. I switched to Regal theaters from then on, which is why I drove all the way to Regal Citrus Park instead of the closer AMC Westshore. Anyway, I wasn’t paying attention to the ticket prices or senior discounts until this couple started complaining about an upcharge of $2.00 for reclining seats. What? I never noticed any reclining seats before. Interesting. Finally, the group at the window figured out how much money they owed for their tickets and, of course, each paid separately. Not one of them pulled out their wallet ahead of time. Once each made it to the lone cashier, acted like she just realized that money would be needed, searched for the latch on her purse, searched even further for her wallet in one of the dozens of zippered pockets, finally found the little wallet where the dollar bills were stowed, carefully counted out the money, searched for the change purse, counted out the coins, received the ticket, put the bill purse and coin purse back in an excruciatingly carefully selected opening of the large purse, and, after once again closing all the zippers on the purse and finding her cane, walked, with the cane carried carefully in the crook of the arm, a step or two off to the side to continue whatever conversation she had been engaged in ten minutes before. Thirty minutes (it seemed) later, the couple in front of me stepped up to the window and laughed with the cashier about the spectacle they had just witnessed. The girl (at least my age) behind the bullet-proof glass was very amiable but was not about to make fun of the prior group. “They are all like that! It’s just like being with my mom at the Publix checkout!” she proclaimed, obviously enjoying her job. This couple had in hand a piece of paper to show her. “Did you purchase these tickets online?” the girl asked, already knowing the answer, “Then you didn’t need to stand in line. This is your ticket so just hand it to the man inside.” To their credit, both husband and wife laughed at themselves and the wife joked about not being taken out to the movies often enough. “Will he tell us where to go?” she asked, regarding the doorman, and then, with a grin and turning toward me, continued, “and I mean in a GOOD way!” as if anticipating where I might have told her to go. Finally, it was my turn. Guess what? I had to choose seats. “You can choose just about anywhere, honey. This is the front, this is the rear.” Hoo, boy. I guess I am done going to Regal theaters, too. Now I understood why the ladies kept switching positions. You cannot see the seating chart without moving at least one step left. I got my ticket and 30 cents change from a $10 bill. I caught up with everyone. The group had made it inside but were just standing there talking. The couple was still at the entrance, as the man taking tickets couldn’t figure out which theater to send them too. It was truly comical. Finally, exasperated, they pointed to me and said, “We’ll just follow him. I bet he’s going to see the same movie that we are.” Sure enough, we were all there to see Unplanned, though I got to my seat first. A recliner. They were all recliners. I checked my ticket. It had a senior discount (unasked for) and the recliner upcharge. The ladies group sat right in front of me and spent ten minutes giving each other instructions on how to make the seat recline.
And the movie? Need you ask? GO SEE IT!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka