Thursday, December 15, 2005

White Christmas

I've been inundated lately with a plethora of examples of the suckiness of the general population. It seems like every time I turn around, I see greedy, stupid, inconsiderate louts getting ahead and it makes evenings like last night's all the more precious to me.

It satarted with an off-hand invitation from a friend - they were going to the movies at the Trivoli, which is in my neck of the woods. The Trivoli is an old-time theatre in the best sense of the word - one huge screen, an organ at the front, and a beautifully ornate decor. When I accepted the invite, I didn't even know what movie was playing - I have never been, and everyone told me that I HAD to go. As it happens, the movie playing was "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby and I figured that my friends and I would be the only people in the theatre.

My friend told me that it usually gets really busy, so I arrived at 6:20 for the 7:00 show to find the theatre completely packed. I paid my $3 and wormed my way through the masses of people - all of whom were unnaturally cheerful about being crammed together like sardines - to the popcorn stand (featuring free refills!), through the line and to my seat. As I settled myself, a particularly complex bit of Christmas music was heralded by enthusiastic applause from the audience. That was when I realized that it wasn't a CD - there was a guy up on the stage, sitting at a complicated looking organ, pounding away. Every flourish was greeted with the same enthusiasm from the audience until it was time for the movie to start - with no previews, or commercials beforehand.

Even more amazing, there was not one cell phone/PDA/beeper ring during the entire movie. The only noise at all was a quickly hushed baby's cry. The last movie I was at, the person next to me talked on their phone for several minutes (actually, right up until I 'accidently' elbowed him hard enough for the phone to jump out of his hand and go skittering under several rows of seats - and I firmly believe that it went that far 'cause people kept kicking it further). Not here - when I looked around, everyone was completely focused on the screen. Well, not completely focused. When my very emotional friend started crying at all the military men marching around to honor their retired general, someone behind us quietly offered a tissue over her shoulder.

At the happy ending, wild applause again sounded throughout the theatre and then, something even more amazing happened. Everyone picked up their belongings and filed out. People stopped to let others go ahead of them, no one pushed their way around the elderly ladies shuffling to the front - as a matter of fact, a pierced and tattoed goth guy waited patiently for several moments to hold the door open for them - and there was someone waiting at the front doors to hand us a mint and thank us for coming.

As I walked away, a gentle fluffy snow started to fall - making the cityscape look remarkably like a certain magical final scene in a White Christmas classic. In the morning, the snow would no longer be picturesque and people would once again be rude and mean-spirited but one magical evening did a lot to restore this soul's eroded Christmas spirit.

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