Saturday, September 15, 2007

theatre roaming

Yesterday my colleague Matt invited me to a party and movie premiere put on by a partner he works with from a credit card company. The person who invited him (who was the only person he knew at this company) told him he would be on the guest list, plus one. He told me that the party was from 7-9pm, with the movie beginning at 9pm. It seemed to be a dressy event, so we braved some ridiculous rain in our finest. My feet were unhappy as I'm trying to make the transition from summer to fall shoes.

Matt and I met at 7:30 at the front doors of the theatre, which is a theatre for plays, not a movie theatre. Immediately the night seemed sketchy; Matt didn't have tickets or even a piece of paper that indicated we were supposed to be there and there was a huge line of people at the door. We told the person working the door that we were on the guest list; no guest list seemed to exist. The woman told us to go right in.

We stopped and spoke to the next person who was checking tickets. When we told her that we were there for the premiere party, she waved us in with a distracted look. Wandering around the lobby somewhat aimlessly, we noticed that there were very few people around. Finally, an usher at the very end of the hallway waved us over. Before we could tell her why we were there, she indicated we were to get into the elevator.

The elevator attendant was a bit dishevelled and slurred her words, as if she had had a bit of fun before her shift. I was briefly concerned that she was unfit to man the equipment until I remembered that she was tasked only with pushing the button of our destination floor. "Are you guys part of the something something something society?" she asked. In those words. I laughed. "Although that sounds appealing," I said, "we're here for the credit card company party." The doors opened and she gestured toward a room full of people.

The room of people wasn't exactly what I expected. Most people were wearing the kind of clothes I throw on the morning after a very long night. We fought our way through crowds of people to the bar. When we got there, around 7:45, the bartender told us she had to close. "Close?" my colleague said to me, "But this party is supposed to go til 9:00!" This all had the air of not so much exclusivity.

We wandered some more in confusion. At the other side of the room we found two tables with troughs (yes, troughs!) of candy. Endless supplies of gummy worms, M&Ms, Glossettes (the yummy peanut kind), and SweeTarts led me to believe I had found my Elysium. It crossed my mind, briefly, that the theatre we were going to was run by crazy people who didn't allow patrons to enter with anything other than water. But then the animal need for candy took over, and the two of us elbowed anyone in the way to fill handfuls of baggies with the sweet, tasty treats.

At 7:55 we were asked to head into the theatre. We looked at each other, a bit puzzled, since this seemed a bit early, given that our movie was due to start at 9:00. But, believing in the wisdom of crowds, we and our candy followed everyone in.

Well, the wisdom of crowds was not immediately apparent to me. Instead of going into the theatre we expected, we ended up at a secondary theatre in the complex. A bit confused, we decided nonetheless to see this through, and found seats at the side.

The room went dark and, without any announcement, the movie began. At the opening credits I started to giggle. This movie was the farthest thing from the movie we were supposed to be at. Matt started to giggle too. We sat and ate candy, giggling, for several minutes. Then, realising this was going to be painful for the people around us who had actually come to see this movie, we got up and walked to the back of the theatre. I had bags of candy in hand. I wasn't about to abandon candy goodness because of a party fiasco. Please.

"Ummm... " I whispered to the first usher I could find. "I think there's been a bit of a mistake." After we explained where we were supposed to be, she said "Oh, that's why you're dressed up," and led us out of the door and down the hall. "There," she said, pointing up another staircase. "I think that's your party."

This room had white tablecloths, huge spreads of food, people in suits, and, best of all, room to breathe. Matt immediately spotted the person who had invited him. We'd found our party, and I was standing in the doorway with bags and bags of candy. Embarrassed, my first move was to the bar. "We'd like some wine," I said to the bartender, "and could you take away all of this?" He looked, somewhat confused, at the candy I put on the counter.

The rest of the night was somewhat less eventful. I ran into someone I had met almost a year before at a fundraiser. When I first met him, he had annoyed me so greatly that I had vowed never to entertain a conversation with him again. This time I considered trying to escape but then came to the conclusion that we had roamed the building quite enough for the evening. I sucked it up. We ate some food, drank some wine, then we watched the premiere of a poorly written film where everyone dies and we giggled some more. This last part was much to the enjoyment of our fellow movie-goers, I'm sure.

While this evening was quite enjoyable for us, I can't help but wonder why all four (count 'em, four) people we encountered in the lobby managed to misdirect us to the point where all of this happened. Don't these people get paid to direct visitors to their proper place in the building? Is this job really so hard?


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