The Old Movie Shuffle

I recently went to a 10:00 showing of South Pacific at the local movie theater. I should explain that it was 10:00 a.m., not 10:00 p.m., so the crowd was a bit different than it might have been. The beeping was from hearing aids, not text messages.

It didn’t take me long to realize that I stood out from the crowd—by about 40 years. It could have been a reunion of the original cast, though I didn’t see anything posted. As someone who has never been an elderly person—but has every intention of becoming one someday—I thought it would be smart to learn from the experts how to be elderly:

  1. Dress up to go to the "show." A full-length faux-leopard-fur coat, for example, might just fit the bill. And anyway, you don’t know how many more occasions you’ll have to wear it.
  2. Go to the $2 movie showings, but don't buy any popcorn. It's too expensive these days. After all, you tell your friend, you remember when it used to cost a quarter. And as long as we're talking popcorn, don't even smuggle your own in, because you're old and can't eat it anyway.
  3. Leave your walker in the car, because the movie theater has railings along the stairs to your seat. It might take a (really really) long time to get to the perfect seat on the top row, but that's why you go (really really) early.
  4. At intermission (because you go to old movies with intermissions), shuffle on out—again, not to the popcorn stand-- but to the ladies' room. Become very confused and mutter to yourself as the automatic toilet flushes when you don't want it to, the automatic sink turns on and off and on and off as you wash, and you can't figure out if the paper towel dispenser is automatic with a hidden sensor somewhere or just broken. Dry your hands on your pants. (Um, I’ve actually mastered this bit already.)
  5. Before intermission is over, find an employee to complain to about how dark it is in the theater.
  6. Shuffle back into the theater and try and find your friend. (“Iris? Iris? Iris?”)
  7. Sleep through the second half of the show. You've seen it before anyway.
  8. Once the show is over, stand up and join the shuffling mass exiting the theater. This gives you a great opportunity to enjoy all (and I mean all) the credits music.
  9. If you still have decent teeth and did fork out the dough to buy some popcorn, get a free refill as you leave. The grandkids are coming over on Saturday.
  10. Fish around in your purse for your safety-goggle sunglasses and your car keys. Keep pressing the button as you wend your way between all the Cadillacs, Buicks, and Lincolns. Promise yourself to come earlier and find a better parking space next time—if you remember.