Taking into account all the numpty things I’ve ever done, I think I can honestly say, I’m a very responsible adult. Maybe not responsible with my own life, but I’m sure I can look after a few children now and again. I mean what is it that is so difficult? Or so I thought until yesterday. You see as a child I always wanted to be a teacher. My Jemima doll could recite the alphabet better than I could and Humpty’s drawing was amazing. My Eeyore behaved impeccably and Mr Bunny was a real gentleman. I was the perfect teacher.
But yesterday my dreams of having little angels worthy of the Von Trapp family as my pupils came to an end, it was all Paddington’s fault and Kenneth Branagh’s. No, the connection isn’t trains, well I suppose it is indirectly. I went to see “Murder on the Orient Express,” and didn’t check out the Cinema’s Child Alert nor the films that were showing. It turned out that there is a Children’s Film Festival on at the moment and the kids are going to the Movies for free. The teachers and schools in their great wisdom are taking advantage of this and they are taking not just one class, oh no, that would be tolerable, they are taking a year at a time to the Cinema.
It didn’t occur to me when I bumped into “white fluffy poodle owner,” out walking her dog, when she told me that her grandson was being taken to the pictures by the school. No, nimwit here, just thought, that’s nice, what a brilliant marketing campaign by the Cinema’s. Grab’em young, pour adverts into their brains and send them home to nag the parents every time a new movie comes out. Genius.
I booked my seat ahead of time, I usually do, but this was the first time I had ever gone to the movies by myself. Why? Because it’s on my bucket list, and this was the perfect opportunity. Let’s see, Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Willem Defoe, Michelle Feiffer, Daisy Ridley, and of course not forgetting Sergei. Not that Sergei, although the accent wasn’t far off, I mean Sergei Polunin. He had one scene worthy of his talents and…that’s a spoiler I won’t say. In case you are none the wiser, he is a ballet dancer. Not a looker but boy can he shimmy that toosh.
A bit nervous I had the customary doubts as to whether to go or not. I mean how bad could it be, I’ve done a lot of scary things and I’m still here. My brain started working overtime as I woke and realise the day of my adventure was here.
I was going to arrive and be met by a kind young girl who realise that I was on my own, instantly she was exceptionally friendly. Asking what film, I was about to see, I replied, “The Johnny Depp film.” She immediate knew which one I meant. Approaching the counter of the nuts and nibbles, coke and caffeine bar I ordered my coke and bought my popcorn. The attendant was very polite and smiled nicely.
I showed my ticket and was directed towards the Screen theatre. There I sat in semi darkness, and my nightmare began. He was big and smelly and I couldn’t move, the cinema was empty, but for five of us. But I am stickler for etiquette and I had bought my ticket for that seat, if I were to move I would be breaking the rules and I would be taking a seat that didn’t belong to me. I was stuck and then the promo’s started. He breathed heavily and started talking during the adverts.
“Do you come here often?” He rubbed his hands together.
I’m an adult I thought to myself, no need to be rude, we are in a public place, no harm can…
He placed his hand on my leg. No one, I mean no one, does that, no one except Mark. Now don’t ask me at which point the thinking about the fear of going to the cinema alone had crept into a dream and at what point I’d fallen asleep, but there is no way that what happened next could possibly have happened in real life. For there I was standing tall in a makeshift Wonder Woman costume beating the living crap out of the pervert, and the cinema was full of people all standing and applauding. I dragged him out into the street and handed him over to an American style cop. At which point the young lady that had greeted me, came over and thank me for taking him out.
“You awake?” Mark was nudging me.
“Yes, but I’ve just had the weirdest dream.”
“I know you were humming a stupid tune to yourself, didn’t recognise it, but then again you always were tone deaf.”
That didn’t help. Now I had visions of playing the lead role in Nightmare in the Cinema. What I hadn’t counted on was the little people explosion. They stagger the times of the movies, don’t they? Of course, they do. They have three movies showing on three different Screens so they start them all at different times, that means that when you get there, not everyone is trying to do the same thing at the same time. But yesterday, the theory of logistics went to the extreme of resembling an ant farm that had just been flooded with hot water in the middle and pouring honey around the outside. I was Dorothy in Munchkin land and let me tell you it was scarier than the thought of being Wonder Woman. You see I’m not scared of dirty old men, I can deal with them, but the thought of having to squeeze into one of the Wonder Woman outfits and showing my legs is horrifying.
They were everywhere and the four teachers and the obviously out of their depth four mothers that had decided to join them were so out of their league, it was frightening. Huddled by the door to the Screen Theatres corridor stood three young girls. Not looking quite as friendly as the one in my vision. If they could have been anywhere else right at that point in time they would have been. To be quite honest so would I. But my determination was winning. I was going to enjoy this experience even if it killed me. I stood in the queue for nuts and nibble and coke and caffeine, pushed and jostled, bumped and knocked. I was about to give up when an assistant opened up a new till and shouted, ne asked if there was anyone not with the school. I did it, I know it may have looked stupid, but it was an instant reaction, I put my hand up. Shot up like a kid who had been called out in assembly to win a prize. “Me, me…. I mean I’m not with the school, erhum…”
She smiled as I walked towards the counter with my toffee popcorn and ordered a watered down brown syrup laughingly knownby the name of Diet Coke. Obstacle one, completed.
Obstacle two is the ticket presentation. With two of you it’s easy. You give everything to Mark, you open your phone, find the e-mail, show it to the attendant and she tells you where to go. On your own you have stuff and you have balancing acts and this time to add to it all you had flying monkeys, for at this point the children were restless and those that had purchased their sugar dosage were now itching to get into see the film. If I had to wait behind this school I would never make it in time, after all they only give you 30 minutes of promo’s and adverts before the film starts! But if you don’t get there by the start time on the ticket, can you find your seat, can you, heck as like. That reminds me, we are going to see Justice League tonight and Mark has abysmal time keeping, so I’m taking a torch. They use to do that you know. I remember the ushers when they would direct you to your seat. Wonderful people.
I stood in line and the noise level began to increase. Yes, I’m a noisy cow, yes, I can be loud, but this, this was torture. I just couldn’t take much more, I had three options, 1. Leave. 2. Push past the small people. 3. Tell them all to be quiet. Before I knew it, there was silence.
It was me, I know it was, I heard it and just knew that it was me, the justification was there, they were out of control. I didn’t have to worry about it, what could they do, chuck me out, of course not, I was Wonder Woman.
“Be quiet.” I bellowed, “Ruhig Sein.” My brain screamed. The voice of my father shouting in German at me came to mind, he’d have had this lot quaking in their boots. Although I wasn’t too sure if I had used German in temper I had definitely said something, loudly!. Which ever way I had said it, I had used the full knowledge of my strict upbringing and it worked. Silence prevailed. Even the teachers and the parents looked on in amazement. But then there was the gap. You know the gap, the gap that says, “Ahhh, you didn’t think this through, did you? Now what are you going to do, can’t look like a fool now, can we?” I grabbed for thoughts and decided to adopt my best military position. (I must add at this point that I have never been in the military however, if I had, I have no doubt what so ever that I would have been a drill sergeant. The only thing stopping me being my hatred of full on exercise.)
An idea came to me just as I was rescued. I was about to pretend to faint, well not fully, and then tentatively explain that I was feeling ill and I needed a doctor. I needed to be taken out of the lobby immediately due to the fact that I could be contagious and have bubonic plague or some such nasty ailment and I was scared that the little people would be in danger. My rescuer had other ideas. The young girl from the nuts and nibbles came over and asked once again for all those not with the school to come forward so that they could see their film. I strode past the scared faces of munchkins. I heard a mumble from a brave young man. Looking directly at him he straightened his shoulders and stared straight back at me. Yep, he’ll either go far or be prison by the time he’s 17. Defiant little git. He must have read my mind as he lowered his eyes and the child reappeared, not sure of himself. There was still some hope for him.
I watched the film without any further incidents, it was well worth it. I left for the toilet break at the best time, you know just after the murder and before the drama starts. I had a woman who sat two seats away from me, who fell asleep a couple of times, her daughter prodding her to keep her awake. And I ate all my popcorn like a good little girl.
I was the first one out of the Cinema when the film finished. I skulked away in the hope that no one saw me leave, thus lessening the chances as being pointed out as the child bully.
Oh well back to the hairdressers, I need a change of identity before a child points me out their parent in the street as being, “That woman that scared them at the pictures.” Me, be a teacher, not bloody likely.