Weirdness at the Movie Theater

Originally published May 11, 2014

I had a strange afternoon today.

I had to go to Comic World today to pick up my comics.  I try not to miss a week because I don’t want the money to pile up in my pull list.  And I have started my coaching of the Freshmen boys team, so my after school hours are limited.  Fortunately, Comic World is open on Sunday.

Now, Comic World is in Dubuque, and so it is a drive of 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic.  This usually meant that I liked doing something in Dubuque besides just picking up the books.  Many times I want to go to a movie, but I had already seen Neighbors and Moms’ Night Out this weekend.  The other option was the new animated Oz movie, but it was not inspiring me.

However, I had another option.  There is a theater in Dubuque called Mindframe, and it sometimes has the independent films that you do not see at AMC or Cinemark.  Checking Mindframe’s web site, I found what looked to be a perfect option.  The movie is called “Under the Skin” and it starred Scarlett Johannson.  According to IMDB, the synopsis of this movie was “An alien seductress preys upon the population of Scotland.”  Sounded great!

The movie started at 11:45 AM.  Comic World did not open until Noon (and many times it is closer to 12:30) so everything was perfect.  I could watch Under the Skin, and then head over to pick up my comics.

I left Maquoketa a little before 10:30.  I am the type of person who likes to be early for my movies.  If a film starts at 11:45, I want to be in my seat with treats at least a half hour before to make myself comfortable.  Today was no problem.  I was puling into Mindframe’s parking lot just past 11:00.

I went in, got my ticket, got treats (really tasty popcorn and a large diet Coke) and I found the theater.  I was the only person in the place.

Now, that is one of my favorite things.  I love being in a movie without anyone else.  It feels like a private showing.  Yes, many times it is because the movie is horrible, but not always.  A lot of times, these smaller films at Mindframe are films that do not attract a large audience.  I saw Killer Joe at Mindframe without anyone else in the theater.  It was the same with Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare movie, Much Ado About Nothing.

So I started munching on my popcorn and sipping on my soda.  And no one else came into the theater.  Alright!  The music was on repeat, and I was hearing the same sections of the same songs over and over again.  I was getting tired of listening to the music.  I was starting to think that it had to be close to starting.  I do not wear a watch, nor do I own a cell phone, so I had no idea of what time it was.

However, I spend a lot of time in movies, and I have a pretty good idea of movie time.  Add to that fact,I am a teacher.  A teacher has to have a good grasp on time, because they have to be aware of when the students need to move on to something new.  It is part of the job.

I was getting curious about what time it was, as I continued to wait for the film to start.  I saw a thermostat up on the front wall of the theater, one of those digital ones, so I thought I would go up and look at that one.  Maybe it had the time on it.  And it did.  It said 12:48.  Now, I knew that it wasn’t 12:48, so I immediately thought to myself that it was 11:48.  I figured that the movie was going to start any second.  I sat back down, though I was getting ready to head out and see if they had forgotten that someone had actually come to see Under the Skin today.

At this point, a short little lady, who I believe was a manager of some sort, came into the movie.  She started by saying to me, “We would appreciate it if you would come out and tell us that the movie hadn’t started.”  I tried to ignore the fact that she was chastising me because their movie wasn’t working and I responded that I had no idea what time it was… that I had no watch.  And then I asked what time it was.

And she said that it was 12:50.



I couldn’t believe what she had said.  The movie should have started over an hour ago.  My shock certainly came through because stopped being condescending and immediately began being nicer to me.  She told me they couldn’t start the movie now, because the next one was scheduled to start at 2:05.  She brought me a couple of free passes as a way to make amends.

I sat in that theater for over an hour and a half!  The thing is… it did not feel like an hour and a half.  It blew my mind totally.  Had she said 12:00 or 12:15, I would have been able to accept it, but 12:50?  I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

I didn’t fall asleep.  I hadn’t slipped into a popcorn-induced coma.  (This suggestion was made by the owner of Comic World, who I told this story to later.) There was no way that it was a prank.   I just couldn’t understand what had happened.  And then it came to me….

Is it sad that I feel like alien abduction is a more likely story than just losing track of time?

I left the movie theater and drove to Comic World, picking up my copy of Original Sin #1.  I then went back to Mindframe and pulled into the parking lot.  It was 1:30.  I read Original Sin#1 (SPOILER…The Watcher is killed).  It was 1:50.  I thought about going back inside to watch the movie, but I changed my mind.  It was just too creepy.  So I did not see Under the Skin.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to spend the rest of the night searching over my body for that implant.

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