When I was growing up the local theater ran a New Year’s Day kids movie marathon. The doors opened at noon and back to back shows ran until the last college football bowl game was over. Three dollars was good for hours of uninterrupted entertainment and license to more popcorn, soda and candy than was legal any other day. It was an escape to another world. The parents may have enjoyed the bowl game parties, but I’m sure they reconsidered when the kids came home wound up like toy cars racing in circles.
Even now, going to the movie theater is like leaving reality for a while. I can’t decide if it’s the movie or the butter soaked popcorn. I walk in to the story and become best friends with a character or two. Most of the time Jim has the whole plot figured out. I almost have to put my fingers in my ears and hum so he won’t tell me. I think he should write movies or be a weatherman. He always predicts what’s going to happen.
I’ve watched You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan a dozen or so times. There’s just so much truth woven all through it. At one point Tom Hanks’ character and his girlfriend are on an elevator stuck between two floors. Like a drug addict in need of a fix, the girlfriend screams at the maintenance supervisor over the elevator phone-in-a-box as all the passengers slowly sit down on the floor to wait for help. One by one, as if they are going to be stranded for years, each person shares what they’re going to do when they get off the elevator. Everyone listens intently to declarations of love and promises to live kinder. It was evident Tom Hanks’ character was deep in thought about what’s really important when randomly the girlfriend whines, “Uhh, I can’t find my TicTacs!”
Finally, what everyone else sees just a few minutes in to the movie comes clearly into focus for him. I’m relieved every time. She’s a shallow, spoiled, not good for him kind of a girl and he needs to break it off and fall deeply in love with the Meg Ryan character. He does.
The TicTacs girlfriend is not someone I would choose for one of my temporary best friends, but she is someone to learn from. She’s self absorbed and more concerned about her breath than other people. Just like her, we whine about inconveniences as if they are life altering. Just think about all the good things we miss while focused on ourselves. You never know what you might discover looking out. Whining is a waste of energy anyway. I know once I start to gripe it can become like a shark feeding frenzy. It’s ugly. But all Jim has to do to rescue me is say, “Have you lost your TicTacs?”