My back was killing me.
I will blame – almost – all that happened on the unreliable trains we have in Britain. The ones that make you travel too early in order not to be too late. The trains, but also what I might label ‘data protection act’ behaviour, which is when unthinking caution and unhelpfulness win over human kindness and common sense.
It’s not every day you go to a world film premiere. It’s not every day I turn into a crabbit old witch for real, either. But as I said; my back was killing me.
So once I’d picked up my comp ticket I wanted to sit down for the spare hour before the world premiere. The venue has a bar. But this was a Friday night and it was busy. Very busy. I always say it’s a nice place to go, because when it’s busy it’s generally busy with more my kind of people than other people’s kind of people.
I spied three empty chairs and thought I could move one over to the side where I’d not be in anyone’s way and I could do some work (i.e. read a book) so as not to waste 60 minutes because of stupid trains. But I overlooked how unattractive I am. All three chairs would be ‘required soon.’ (I’ll say this again; I wasn’t actually intending to ‘join’ you.)
On recalling that the cinema screen I would eventually go to, has a few chairs in its foyer, I crossed the road and asked the nice young man on the door if he’d let me rest on one of them. No, they were ‘about to close to make things ready for their special event. Sorry.’
This kind of asking isn’t something I do lightly. While my advanced age now makes it easier to glare at (more able) people on public transport, here I only forced myself to ask because I was desperate.
I didn’t cry. Not really. But it was close.
Wondering what to do next, my gaze fell on the chairs on the pavement outside the café across the road. It was dark. It was wet. And cold. So surely no one would object to me sitting there without buying something from inside?
So I crossed the road and sat down. Nice chairs. It was a bit dark and damp and chilly, however. The first ten minutes were not too bad. After that I felt not only cold, but dismal. At the 20 minute mark I came to the conclusion I should restore my self respect and simply get a train home and be comfortable again. I discussed this with me and told me that once the film began I’d forget all about this and that persevering was a good thing.
After 40 minutes I wasn’t shaking too badly, but went back into the bar area and used the Ladies room and then crossed the road again to the film venue. ‘Ah,’ said the back, when I sat down. ‘This is comfy.’ ‘Yes,’ said the other bits of me, ‘we feel warm and toasty again. Nice.’
My mind got a little impatient when the film didn’t start on time. Eventually someone introduced the film’s director and asked if he had something short to say before the screening commenced. ‘No,’ he replied. He then used several minutes not saying anything in a longwinded sort of way, finally giving us a quote about the making of the film. Someone had commented to him that ‘if you’d known what you were doing, you wouldn’t have done it.’
By then I wished he hadn’t. The smirk on his face as he walked back to his seat was that of the man who made the emperor’s new clothes, and hadn’t – yet – been found out by the teacher.
It’s all very well selling the idea of a film as being unusual and quirky. But you have to deliver on that promise. It’s not enough to say it is.
Fifteen minutes into the film I was bored stiff. The audience laughed at a close up of one of the film crew sleeping on a bus (in the film). That wasn’t funny, but I’m pleased they were amused. My brain said ‘we’re leaving.’ ‘No,’ protested the back who was feeling good, and the other bits which were nice and warm joined in.
We left. The restoring of my self respect was long overdue. We missed – avoided getting on – the direct train home. It was full to bursting and would have entailed more standing. Warm possibly, but sardine style. Instead we went and sat on the London train in the warm, reading and resting. Thus needing a lift the last couple of miles home, we went in search of the Resident IT Consultant at our local Cineworld where he was enjoying the advertising.
I reckoned I might manage to stand for ten minutes in the warm cinema foyer, if I really tried. But the staff waved me in past the ticket barrier, and I was able to wait in comfort. Sitting down. Without a ticket.