The Movie Theater Experience. With Children.

Are you gonna say something?

I text my reply: No.

BANG.

Shit.

I quickly text him these words: And again.

He replies: Do you want me to say something?

I shake my head as I type: No. It’s fine. Whatever. I’m used to kids kicking the back of my chair, right? Happens all the time in the car.

The Interrogator whispers, “Mom, are you texting Dad?”

Me: “Yes, buddy.”

Interrogator: “But why are you texting him if he is sitting right there almost next to you?”

Me: “Well, because we don’t want to talk in this movie theater.”

We settle into our chairs at the Tuttleman Omniverse Theater just as the lights dim.

BANG.

Goddamn this kid behind me.

The opening scene shows a boat on the water. The Interrogator leans very close to my ear and whispers: “When’s it gonna happen, Mom?”

Me: “When’s what gonna happen?”

Interrogator: “When’s that boat gonna sink?”

Me: “The Titanic?”

Interrogator: “Yeah.”

BANG.

Motherfucker.

Me: “It already sank. It’s at the bottom of the ocean.”

Interrogator: “The real ocean or the ocean in this movie?”

Me: “Both.”

Interrogator: “Are we gonna see it?”

BANG.

Son of a bitch.

Me: “See the boat or see it sink?”

Interrogator: “See the boat when it sinks?”

Me: “After it sinks or while it sinks?”

Interrogator: “While it sinks?”

Me: “No, it happened already.”

Interrogator: “In this movie it happened?”

Me: “No. Before this movie.”

Interrogator: “Then what boat is that?”

Me: “That boat is full of scientists. They are going to take a smaller boat to the bottom of the ocean.”

BANG.

Piece of shit.

Interrogator: “What for?”

Me: “To see the Titanic. It’s down there.”

Interrogator: “Where are all the people?”

Me: “The scientists are getting on the little boat now.”

Interrogator: “No, Mom. Not those people. The people who were on the Titanic. Where are they?”

I frown, “They died, buddy. It was sad.”

Interrogator: “They died from going to the bottom of the ocean in the boat?”

BANG BANG BANG

Relentless bastard.

Me: “Most of them died because the ocean water was freezing. It brought their body temperatures down too low. And their hearts stopped working. It’s called hypothermia.”

The Interrogator leans closer: “Oh. I don’t want to get that. That hypothing.”

Me: “You probably won’t.”

His lips are on my ear now: “Don’t take me on a boat that’s gonna sink, OK, Mom?”

titanic

I nod my head, “I’ll try not to. Let’s watch now, OK?”

Interrogator: “But what happened to the bodies, Mom? After they died?”

Me: “Oh, I don’t know. Probably they became part of the earth again.”

BANG.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Interrogator: “Mom, this is boring.”

Me: “Wait, they’re almost at the Titanic. This is the cool part.”

Interrogator: “Did it sink yet?”

Me: “Yes.”

Interrogator: “Why didn’t we see it sink?”

Me: “Because it happened a long time ago.”

Interrogator: “A long time ago in this movie?”

Me: “No. A long time ago before this movie.”

Interrogator: “But why not in this movie?”

BANG.

For the love of Christ.

Me: “Because this movie isn’t about that. No more talking. Let’s watch.”

Interrogator: “It’s about the Titanic, Mom, right?”

Me: “Yes.”

Interrogator: “So I just don’t understand why we don’t see it sink. I really want to see it sink, Mom.”

Me: “Shhh. Let’s watch. They’re steering the little boat closer to the Titanic now. And that is very dangerous.”

Interrogator: “Oh, I know why it’s dangerous! Cuz of the angler fish.  And their sharp teeth, Mom. Angler fish have sharp teeth like this, Mom.”

BANG.

Should I shoot a dirty look behind me?

Interrogator: “Look at me, Mom, Look at my sharp teeth.”

I shake my head: “I can’t see your teeth in the dark.”

Me: “Use your phone to take a picture of my sharp teeth.”

Me: “After the movie. Let’s watch.”

BANG.

Dear God Almighty.

Interrogator: “Do you have any more of that licorice?”

Me: “I don’t.”

Interrogator: “Does Dad?”

Me: “I don’t think so. Let’s watch.”

BANG BANG

Would they even see me give a dirty look in the dark?

I point to the screen, “There is it! There’s the Titanic!”

Interrogator: “Where?”

Me: “That thing with seaweed on it.”

Interrogator: “That’s not a boat.”

Me: “It’s all that’s left of the boat. It’s been at the bottom of the ocean for 100 years!”

The Interrogator announces proudly: “I’m going to live to be 100 years old.”

I smile in the dark theater: “I hope you do. You’d better start eating your vegetables.”

I don’t have to see him to know his nose is crinkling as he replies: “I don’t like vegetables.”

Me: “You need them if you’re gonna be around for 93 more years.”

Interrogator: “Are you gonna live to be 100, Mom?”

I hope not.

Me: “I don’t think so, honey. Let’s watch the movie. Verb, sit down.”

Interrogator: “When we will see the angler fish?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Interrogator: “What if an angler fish broke through the glass of that boat?”

Me: “Oh, that would be awful. And scary.”

Interrogator: “Is that gonna happen?”

Me: “I don’t think so. Not in this movie.”

Interrogator: “How do you know? Did you see this movie already?”

Me: “No. Shh. Watch.”

BANG.

Jesus Christmas.

Interrogator: “Do you smell that, Mom?”

Me: “Smell what?”

Interrogator: “That smell.”

Me: “What smell?”

Interrogator: “I farted.”

On the other side of me, the Verb says: “Something smells not good.”

The Interrogator leans across me: “Guess what it is, Verb?”

The Verb pops out of his chair: “I give up.”

Interrogator: “It’s my fart, Verb. I farted in the movie theater.”

Me: “Verb, sit down.”

Verb: “Ewwww! Let me smell it again.”

Interrogator: “Wait, I’ll do another one…..OK, do you smell it?”

Verb: “Hahahahaha! Another one? I smell it! You’re sure good at doing those farts, Interrogator!”

BANG.

I wish I were on that fucking boat right now. 

Me: “OK, well, thank you for that. Verb, sit down. Interrogator, please stop talking. Let’s watch the movie, OK?”

The Interrogator leans his head on my shoulder. “Mom, I’m gonna miss you.”

Me: “When?”

Interrogator: “I’m gonna miss you when you’re dead.”

Me: “Thanks, honey. I’ll always be with you though.  You’ll carry me in your heart.”

Interrogator: “And then will you be in my belly? And then you’ll be born again?”

I shake my head: “Um, not quite. I’ll just stay in your heart.”

Interrogator: “Oh, right, cuz only girls can have babies in their bellies, right?”

Me: “Right.”

Interrogator: “That’s good cuz I don’t want a baby in my belly.”

Me: “Shh.”

BANG.

Please, baby Jesus, make it stop. Make it all stop.

Interrogator: “Mom, why’s this taking so long? When’s the Titanic gonna sink?”

Me: “Soon, honey. Hopefully really soon.”