If you ever have the chance, do not go into public places with me. Why? Because for some reason my public-place karma is way off kilter and I attract the worst of the worse. Today was one of those days.
1. Movie theater: On the screen "Because of Winn Dixie" (a charmer with a little something for everyone -- even the jam-band-loving dad), behind me a woman who really should have thought long and hard before going to the movie with her kids, her friends and their kids. I'm afraid even the luxury of the stadium seating didn't protect me from the cough, cough, hack, hack, sneezing going on over my shoulder. At one point she talked to her friends and she was just so terribly stuffed up, and she coughed a lot in our general direction. I just imagined her awful germs finding their way into our open bag of popcorn and onto our straw. You know it was bad because I am typically not a germophobe. I might have married one, but I usually look at germs and laugh. That's how bad it was.
Movie theater bonus: About 3/4 of the way through the movie, I noticed a woman from the mom-friends group behind us come down, whisper to her friends and then leave the theater. Not having the movie-theater manners of their departing friend, one mom leaned over to the other mom left and said, "She has to go XXX is sick. Yeah, he's throwing up." Meaning one of the kids behind us had to leave the feel-good kids flick because he couldn't keep the buttered popcorn down. Just remembering all of this makes me want to fill the bathtub with Purell and jump in!
2. Applebee's: Took the girls to an early dinner at Applebee's (their oriental chicken salad isn't very oriental, but it is craving-worthy. And luckily the maple butter blondie wasn't nearly as good as I remembered it from when I had it 18 months ago or so). Seated next to us was over-the-hill, hippie musician who knew everything. He talked loud enough that Maxine couldn't help but be drawn into his conversation of meaningless stuff he knows. I quietly taught Maxine that you can still listen to people's conversations without staring at them (a favorite pastime of mine). Then the guy started ragging on fast-food restaurants (dude, you're at Applebees, you might be sitting down at a table, but you're not in a place where you can really be looking down your nose at fast-food joints).
At the mention of McDonald's, he said, "They're the worst. Well, they're the second worst. Taco Bell, they're the worst!" And continued to rant about sanitary conditions, where the animals are raised and the food produced, and on and on and on.
Maxine turned to me and whispered, "He's talking about two of my favorite places!" She buried her face in my shoulder. I asked, "Are you embarrassed?" And she said, "No, I'm mad."
Through the remainder of our dinner, he continued to use his louder-than-his-friends and much-louder-than-necessary voice to remind his friends (and half the restaurant) how much smarter he is than them.
Blockbuster: Can't really say that anything bad happened there, except as we walked in the "friendly" employee said, "Hi, how are you tonight? Are you familiar with the end of late fees?" Guess they're doing a CYA over there.
The one thing I really did learn is that movies are best rented before noon on a Friday, not at 6 p.m. on a Saturday. For all the complaints about the lack of a night life in this town, all you have to do is walk into a neighborhood Blockbuster to see what people round here are doing. Guess if you're an up-and-coming band, you should score a gig at Blockbuster if you really want to play to a crowd.
And one final rant: What's with movies these days? Is it just the pre-Oscar dearth of quality movies? If you're not looking for a scary movie, you're SOL. I walked around that store twice before giving in and buying "In America" for $7.99. Nothing there seemed worthy of giving two hours of my life to. (The girls grabbed the last copy of "Raise Your Voice" and I let them buy "Cinderella Story" ... it's a Hilary Duff marathon around here tonight!)
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