Archive | April, 2012

The Best Job Ever

26 Apr

It was talked about for years. They were going to build a movie theater in Essex. We wouldn’t have to drive 20 minutes in heavy traffic to get to a movie theater in Burlington. It would be 10 minutes away with no traffic. It seemed ideal for everyone in the towns surrounding Burlington and those even more outside the queen city. Vermont isn’t known for it’s multiplexes so this was huge…and was rumored to be in progress for like 10 years. Finally, it came to life right in Bethany’s backyard.

And it was the best job ever.

We applied immediately and began training while the theater was still being built. The original crew was mostly made up of people in our high school so we all knew each other. There were a few others from outside towns but we were all about the same age. The best part: we all loved movies. Some of us were actors or directors. Some of us just loved movies of all genres. We were a bunch of misfits but we somehow all got along. It helped we had the best bossman and managers watching over us and that we were all in it together from the start.

This is just a mix of stories and memories. I can’t even to begin to rub it in everyone’s face how cool this job was. And it was cool. Get ready to be jealous.

When you work at a movie theater, sometimes you are treated to viewing the movies before they are released in the theater. It helps to give the reel a run before they sell tickets to test volume and whatnot. That’s what they always said but none of us really cared. We just liked to brag we had seen the biggest summer blockbusters before anyone else.

Midnight showings were usually Thursday nights. It would be for employees and guests of employees so I brought my family occasionally. My brother ended up working at the theater later on so we would drag along my dad sometimes if he promised not to fall asleep. Normally, it was Bethany and me going together, with my brother in tow. We would stop at Maplefields (the gas station across from the shopping complex with the theater) and load up on snacks. Like, a lot of snacks. I always got a Carmello bar which I always regretted because they are extremely difficult to eat in the dark. Seriously. That caramel just drips out of every corner, you have to put the whole candy bar in your mouth basically. I digress.

The staff working that night would let us in and we’d all pile into theater 1 which was the biggest stadium space we had. It would be about 20 of us max so we would all spread out in our small groups and still be enjoying each other’s company. We’d be respectful but at the same time, we would talk at the movie once and while depending on what we were watching. They can’t all be gems and some comments needed to be made.

I got to see Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pirates of Caribbean, Anchorman, Phantom Menace (I don’t need to brag about that one), Spiderman, Signs, Shrek, Catch Me If You Can, and so many other great movies and so many bad ones before anyone else. It felt like we were on a VIP list. Sitting in a theater with the lights down and watching a movie with all my friends. How marvelous is that? It made every movie viewing personal to us with the time we spent together laughing, crying, cheering, or waiting for the next jump moment.

This was just one of the aspects of the best job ever. I don’t know if it sounds like a good time to anyone else but I treasure my time there deeply. My brother worked there. I dated a boy for several years from there. My best friend and I got to spend the days and nights drinking soda and eating nachos and sneaking into Finding Nemo on our breaks to sit with our plastic baggies of popcorn covered with cheddar. Bethany and I have CDs and playlists made up of MovieTunes (the music they play in the lobby and before the movie) and the songs they would play during credits of the movies when we were cleaning. We would have actual dance parties as we swept up soda cups, Skittles, and the occasional condom or pair of underwear or dog biscuit (yes, we found all those things multiple times).

When Star Wars: Phantom Menace came out, there was a line out the door. I was usually put in charge of the line because I was organized, thorough, and very, very loud. We were bored because nothing else was really drawing attention so we got one of the huge trashcans on wheels, I climbed inside with a broom, and we rolled me back and forth in the hallway by the entrance. We all took turns, doing different poses, and entertained all the Storm Troopers, Ewoks, and Jedis as they waited for hours only to come to realize our little display was better than the film. I credit myself with saving the day.

When Austin Powers: Goldmember came out, Bossman* let us run to Bethany’s house (it really was across the street) and change into costumes that went with the movie. We came back as quick as we could and took tickets in the most ridiculous outfits we could find in her closet. We got to dress up for any movie we wanted if it was big enough. We all drew lightening bolts on our heads for Harry Potter. We were able to bring fun to our little hometown theater and personalize it for us and the guests.

We’d play games behind the concession stand. I sometimes had a British accent. We’d play the game from Super Troopers where we said “Meow” as much as we could before the guest noticed. We’d have competitions of who could get the order faster (we were wholesome kids). Seriously. This is what we actually did. I credit some of the best bosses in the world for teaching me how to make work fun and enjoyable while still being competitive and doing the job well.

There was something magical about working in a movie theater that I can’t explain. It was amazing to walk in and sit and watch a few minutes of whatever I wanted. It had a sense of power to it. To see the people come out of a film and know instantly if they liked it or hated it. To see the different experiences and emotions. The tear soaked faces after The Notebook. The disgust after King Arthur (it’s so bad, guys). The chatter and smiles after Harry Potter. It was great to talk movies with strangers or people I grew up with or neighbors or hockey families. I’m smiling now writing about it.

I saw so many movies and made so many friends. Two marriages came out of that theater! The last time we were home, Bethany and I ended a tradition by seeing the fourth Pirates film at the theater. Bossman gave us free passes to see it and encouraged us to have a drink in their newly established restaurant. The theater has grown and is still growing. There’s a new crop of high schoolers and a few familiar faces still working behind the counter. I don’t know if they had as much fun as we did but I hope so. I couldn’t have asked for more: great boss, great movies, great friends, and all the pretzels I could eat.

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Quotes of our Lives

25 Apr

The best kind of friendships are those in which, no matter how long time passes between visits, it feels as if no time has passed at all.

That’s what Rachel, our super-smart doctor friend, Alia, and I  have. We sometimes go months without seeing each other, but when we get together we pick right back up where we left off. Now, of course, we spend some time catching up on recent happenings, etc., but the jokes and witty banter are always the same. An observer once said to us, during a particularly heated game of Pop-Up Video Trivia,: “If I didn’t know any better, I would think you were drunk all the time.” I think that is by far the best way to describe the three of us.

Obviously, since we’ve all been friends for years, we have lots of inside jokes.  For instance, our guy friends in high school used to ask us all the time what we did at sleepovers. We got sick of them asking and eventually told them we did normal sleepover stuff…watch movies, do each other’s make-up…but that we did it topless. Every sleepover from there forward became known as a Topless Sleepover. We also refer to ourselves as The Trifecta. I won’t be telling you where that name came from.

The Trifecta at Alia’s wedding last fall

Whenever we’re together, we say absolutely ridiculous things.  As a way to remember all the good times, I came up with Quotes of our Lives in December of 2003.  It started out as a purple notebook that I would bring along on our various adventures to chronicle all of the funny things we said,  but when it became too cumbersome to carry around in a purse, we started using paper menus and napkins- anything we could find at the time. This notebook and all of the extra inserts have traveled with me from dorm room to dorm room and to my various post-college apartments. It never fails to cheer me up when I’m missing my girls or to make me laugh until I cry when I’m having a bad day.

None of the quotes in this notebook will make sense to anyone besides the three of us, but these are a few of my favorites:

Rachel: Look how tiny I have to be! (in reference to being shoved in the back of my car with a crap ton of luggage)

Alia: I love the periodic table.

Rachel: Richard Gere is a silver fox.

Rachel: You can’t drive to Alaska.

Bethany: We should throw this out, but we’re gonna need it!

Rachel: That’s a pretty building.
Bethany: It’s probably an insane asylum

Bethany: Wear clothes!
Alia: Weather permitting.

Rachel: Look, we had a baby! (to her brother while walking out of the movie theater we worked at in reference to the 8 year old I was babysitting)

Bethany: That didn’t make any sense; you just said letters.

Alia: I’m a one-eyed jack. (as she winks)

Bethany: Let’s get another drink and see where the night takes us…(written on an empty pack of Orbit gum)

Alia: It’s really hard being the funny one, smart one, and cute one. It’s my cross to bear.

Aaaaaaand:

Alia: I thought you were shorter. (There’s a long and not very funny backstory to this quote that I won’t explain, but we decided to name our blog after this quote in honor of Miss Alia)

Song of the Day: In This Diary by The Ataris (Rachel already quoted this song, but it’s really the most appropriate for this post)

The History of Boys: Part 1

20 Apr

I have a lot of writing from my past I wanted to share. I wanted to share because I wanted any one who has ever been hurt and struggled to read this and know they are not alone. I wanted to share these pieces of my heart. I’m proud of this writing and it helped to put it down during the struggle. This is my diary. This is my history of boys.

PART 1

Driving with the windows down, a cigarette between my fingers, and music seeping out from the speakers was the best therapy I could think of.

I found it difficult to drive holding the cigarette in my left hand since usually when I smoke the cancer sticks my parents would pull my spine out of my body for smoking, I do it with my right. I had no idea how I had gotten to this point. Or why I was smoking? I think the tingles the nicotine sent through my body reminded me that I was somehow still alive. I thought that in four years I wouldn’t remember what brought me to this night. How wonderful that moment would be. But until then, I was driving up and around my neighborhood, refusing to go home mostly because they kept playing a song I loved on the radio. It was also partially because I was thinking and this was the best way to keep my mind going. Driving up and down the dark and empty streets of Essex was the best therapy I had ever given myself.

It wasn’t hard to find these streets empty, especially after 11pm. I had been driving home with every intention of going in quietly and sitting down and watching something on television. It was that moment that I discovered my freedom with this car and the cigarette and the radio was everything I could ever want or need. The windows blew the cool summer air in my face as I was struggling to grip the cigarette in my fingers and keep my car from having a suspicious smell I knew my mother would discover immediately. She has the nose of a bloodhound. I suppose that is what made it dangerous in a way. Not to mention pollution of my lungs.

Somehow I couldn’t remember how I got here. I could barely remember where I was driving home from. It was something about my heart hurting once again. Or maybe it wasn’t? Maybe it was my heart was yearning for something and I was going gong-ho straight at it and questioning it once again. Great. Awesome. Now I was smoking and attempting to drive the speed limit on a completely empty road and avoiding my warm safe bed because I could scream and cry and belt out badly written love songs in my childhood home.
This was before the second fall of my life. This was before my heart was completely torn apart. This was when I was still a small town girl with her heart broken for the first time. Cheated on, disgraced, abandoned. This was after I experienced freshmen year of college and by experienced, I mean experienced. This was when I thought I was starting over. But I was really just going back to the beginning. An extremely altered dark and brooding beginning.

I am the girl who is always in love with her best friend. The brunette who is unnoticed by the boy she spends every day with. The feisty girl who sits and watches as the object of her affection goes for the blonde bubbly girl who barely notices his existence. The witty, sarcastic punk who listens as he vents his frustrations about his girlfriend who doesn’t seem to have time for him. I sit and watch as his face falls when she does something hurtful and, soon after, try not to show my own grimace when she calls and he lights up like a Christmas tree. I observe how she can do no wrong in his eyes. How I am not even in his line of sight.

I’ve made efforts. Dressed up, piled on the makeup, poured on the perfume. I’ve been funny and sensitive. I’ve listened and given advice. Advice I wish was wrong but somehow it always works. Somehow she is always there in ways I am not. I’ve tried to admit the feelings to him but it never comes out the right way. It’s usually followed by laughter and a sentence that concludes with “You’re such a great friend.”

I’m a repeat offender. There was one that lasted years. Most of the adolescence. Strangely enough, it was a tarot card reading that showed me the truth. (I said I had tried everything) The cards read that I put him on a pedestal. He was my muse but he wasn’t what I wanted. I stepped back and watched him and realized they were right. He was someone I cared for deeply but in the end, I’m not sure being with him would have made a difference. Jealousy still reigned over the closeness we had but I never mentioned my feelings after the first rejection.

I suppose you can’t change certain addictions. I guess I’m addicted to being that girl. Many talented actress have played me in many films. However, at the end of them, I always get the guy. He realizes his best friend is beautiful and wonderful and everything he ever wanted, he just wasn’t looking hard enough. Almost all the time I am the brunette, she the blonde. Molly Ringwald is queen of playing me. John Hughes basically wrote my biography. Most of the 1980’s feature films had me in them. The 1990’s didn’t hurt either. Joey Potter is a slightly taller, smarter and tomboyish version but true to life. And always he discovers that the diamond earrings were really meant for me.

I don’t think I will ever get that John Hughes ending. There is no Jake Ryan coming for me in his red convertible.

I’ll Never Let Go, Jack

18 Apr

I have seen Titanic over 200 times. This was (mainly) not by choice. I worked at the Titanic Exhibition that was up in Times Square for 8 months and we played it almost every day. Occasionally we alternated between that and the ABC version starring Catherine Zeta-Jones (a trainwreck of a film) and several documentaries. But Titanic made the work day go by faster in that we could count down by where the film was. So I have seen it over 200 times, probably more. And I just went and saw it again in a movie theater where I paid money and wore 3D glasses. I loved every second of it.

The first time I saw Titanic I went with Bethany and a few of our girlfriends. We were dropped off at the movies which was a big deal as a teenager to be dropped off and left alone anywhere. It was the greatest sense of freedom I had ever felt at that point and I know everyone knows what I mean. That sense of no one is watching you or hovering over you and you’re with your friends with money in your pocket and can buy whatever you want and that cute boy over in the corner could possibly talk to you because your dad isn’t standing next to you this time. Though that boy never comes over BUT IT COULD HAVE HAPPENED!

Anyway, with our sense of freedom on our shoulders, we went to see Titanic when it first opened. It may have been opening night but it wasn’t the crazy town sold out wait in line 4 hours situation yet because we got tickets and went in. It was the longest movie I had ever seen in a theater at that point in my life. I don’t remember it feeling long. I remember being 13 and being so in love with Leonardo DiCaprio it hurt. Physically hurt. I ached and yearned for him and honestly thought I was desperately in love with him. Those blue eyes, that hair. My loins are crying out just thinking about it.

I hated Kate Winslet. It’s funny because I love her so much now having met and worked with her and watched her grow on screen since this film. She’s my favorite actress. She is also brilliant in this horribly written epic blockbuster. But at the time, I hated her because she was the love interest. Isn’t that just bizarre? I was so in fake love with this celebrity, I actually despised his co-stars whether they were talented or not. Teenagers.

We loved the movie. We were sobbing by the end, of course. I remember the quiet and serious feeling that crept over the audience when they are in the water and the boat comes back. Thankfully, we were among the first to see the movie so we had no idea about Jack. It’s the second when the music creeps in that took my heart and clenched it tight. I couldn’t breathe and the tears came naturally, streaming down my face, realizing hope was dead, my future husband was dead, and that this whole night really happened. But, James Cameron doesn’t give up on hope. Fuck no. He made Rose get back in that damn water, blow a whistle that would have for sure stuck to her frozen lips, and live a full life.

Now, I have become a Titanic expert. Working at the exhibit has only enhanced the movie and history for me. However, this viewing (among the many others) has made me over analyze so much of the film. The love story, for instance. It’s a brief romance that starts with Jack having the high status and control. He’s unique and rebellious and everything Rose is not so he is incredibly appealing. He shows her adventure and courage and reckless abandonment. Everything she wants to be. When Rose decides to go with him instead of Cal, that’s when I started to notice that Rose can’t really make up her mind and maybe doesn’t love Jack as much as he loves her. She makes a real quick choice to let him be locked up in the hold and stay with Cal when it’s revealed he may be a thief. She knows the ship has been hit and he’ll probably die down there but she forgot she just told him she’s getting off with him like 20 seconds prior and let’s them cart him away without even batting an eye. Like, really? You can see why I hated her. But conflict must happen in every love story and being on a real life ship, there’s only so much Cameron had to work with, I guess.

Then there’s the door. Oh, the door. Watching it now as an adult, it’s not that they both don’t try harder to stay on the floating door but that when it’s at the end, all Rose can mutter is about how cold she is and Jack is saying the most wonderfully romantic things. I know that it’s her telling him they can’t possibly make it and he shouldn’t be saying those things, but she says I love you and that’s it. Where’s the part about his beautiful eyes and incredibly perfect hair?! What about how hot it was to do it in the back of a car on a boat??! I remember the first time and this past time and every time thinking ‘Why doesn’t she say more? Why doesn’t she tell him what she says as an old lady? That he saved her??” I suppose in the moment it didn’t come to her. Still, it’s upsetting. Going back to the door, why doesn’t he try harder to get them both on? He automatically gives up his life for hers. Why? She doesn’t seem THAT great. I think that is the love story. Jack is the love story, not Rose. He saves her life so many times and she seems lost in this cloud of  ‘Do I love him enough to give this all up? Yes I do. Wait, do I?” In the boat, out of the boat, in the boat, out of the boat.

Does it piss anyone else off that she marries another guy? I mean, I know life goes on but still, every since I saw this movie for the first time, it angers me that she married another man. I don’t know why. I think I just have always wanted to keep romance pure and forever even if it was two days on a fated ship.

When the movie was over and we were cried out, we got in the car and Our Lady Peace’s “Clumsy” came on. The lyrics go: “I’ll be waving my hand, watching you drown, watching you scream, quiet or loud.” We lost it all over again.  We insisted it was fate playing that song but it was probably just 95XXX playing it for the 500th time that hour.

I feel horrid that as a teenager my focus was on the love story. As I got older and watched it more, I started to feel for the other characters more than the lovers. I also learned who every person was and their stories and became attached to the reality of it all instead of the fantasy. I think Titanic is brilliant. Horribly written and, I am about to cause glass to shatter, but they say Jack and Rose every 5 minutes. I swear. That’s most of their lines in the film, saying the other ones names. I’m sorry, I literally just ruined TItanic for you. But it’s a great movie. It’s incredibly researched and executed and cast well. The love story is featured enough for the romantics and the history is there enough for the purists. It captures the horrors and it shares the beauty of what the ship was and what that time period was. You feel like it’s a window into an unforgettable night that none of us can even imagine what it was like to experience but Cameron attempts to show us and I think he succeeds.

I love Titanic and I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve loved it since the beginning. I saw it 8 times in the theater. The second being with my family and we had to get there 3 hours prior and wait to be let into the theater. It was a monster of a hit, as we all know. I realize it was mostly because of the love story but I think it also is because of the allure of the tragedy and the mystery of it all. The fact that the unsinkable ship sank. I don’t think it’ll ever stop tweaking our minds. And Leo and Kate….well, it’s not as epic as Rhett and Scarlet, but it’ll do. It was all I ever wanted was to have someone say to me “You jump, I jump, right?” Well, someone that wasn’t Bethany but she’ll have to do.

“I’m not an idiot, I know how the world works. I’ve got ten bucks in my pocket, I have no-nothing to offer you and I know that. I understand. But I’m too involved now. You jump, I jump remember? I can’t turn away without knowing you’ll be all right… That’s all that I want. They’ve got you trapped, Rose. And you’re gonna die if you don’t break free. Maybe not right away because you’re strong but… sooner or later that fire that I love about you, Rose… that fire’s gonna burn out…”

A Rant.

18 Apr

Everyone’s entitled to one now and then.  Today it’s my turn.

Things that are pissing me off today:

My hair. I either need to cut it all off or grow it long. I’m sick of this in-between business. Also, it’s getting the crap straightened out of it tonight. That’ll teach it a lesson about having a mind of its own while I’m trying to get ready for work in the morning. Come on, Hair, I have to look presentable sometimes.

All of my clothes. And the weather.  Is it hot out? Is it cold out? I never know because the weather changes every 5 minutes. How does one choose an appropriate outfit for this madness? And don’t say “light layers” unless you want me to slap you.

The MBTA. Why do two buses with the same destination arrive at the same stop at the same time?  That just seems like really poor planning. Especially for me when I miss them both.

People making mouth noises on the bus (eating, chewing gum, etc.). No one wants to hear you make disgusting noises. Ever.

People who wear backpacks on the bus. I do not appreciate getting whacked in the head by your huge bag.

People on the bus who get up from their seat like 5 stops early and then stand in the middle of the aisle, blocking the exit for the normal people who wait and get up at their stop.

People who say “ATM machine”. The “M” in “ATM” stands for machine.  You’re being redundant. The same goes for “PIN number”.

Getting phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize.

Everything I have to do at work today.

The fact that I have to go grocery shopping on my lunch break.  Grocery shopping is a vicious, vicious cycle.  Damn having to eat every day!

People who smile.

The fact that I’ve been slacking on posting a new entry on this blog.

I feel better now.  Venting is good.

Song of the Day: Shut Up by Blink 182